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Music Of Barbara Harbach: Chamber Music Iv, Vol. 8

Harbach / Hudson
Release Date: 10/08/2013 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1259   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Barbara Harbach
Performer:  Alla VoskoboynikovaJohn McGrossoMarlissa Hudson
Conductor:  James Richard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Chamber PlayersSt. Louis Low Brass Collective
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HARBACH Incanta 1. Harriet’s Story. 2 Phantom of the Dreams’ Origin. 1 The Sounds of St. Louis 3 James Richards, cond; 1 St. Louis Chamber Players; 1 Marlissa Hudson (sop); 2 John McGrosso (vn); Read more class="SUPER12">2 Alla Voskoboynikova (pn); 2 St. Louis Low Brass Collective 3 MSR 1259 (74:25)

For years Barbara Harbach (b. 1946) was best known as an intrepid harpsichordist and organist, specializing in contemporary music, especially that of women composers. Among the most important of these activities was an excellent series of albums for the now defunct Gasparo label devoted to contemporary harpsichord repertoire. (Two of the best pieces, by Daniel Pinkham and Arnold Rosner, were rereleased on MSR this past year.) Harbach’s busy and vital musical life also included the founding of a publishing company (Vivace Press), a record label (Hester Park), and a journal on women and the arts ( Women of Note Quarterly ). After moving to St. Louis in 2004, Harbach began to focus a significantly greater portion of her efforts on composition. Though she had composed a variety of works previously, she credits the arts community of St. Louis with being much more interested in her music than had been the case in previous places she’d lived. The result of the last decade has thus been a large number of chamber and orchestral pieces, joining the keyboard and choral pieces that had comprised the bulk of her catalog prior to 2004. She has also written five musicals and an opera. Feature articles (and generally quite positive reviews) on her have appeared in this magazine in 33:3 and 35:6.

MSR Classics is releasing an ongoing series of CDs devoted to her works, of which this disc is both the eighth volume in the complete series and “Chamber Music, Vol. 4.” This release contains four pieces from 2011–12: two works for large chamber ensemble, a song cycle about Harriet Scott (wife of Dred Scott) for soprano, violin, and piano, and a very bluesy suite about St. Louis for low brass ensemble with percussion. Harbach’s musical style is firmly tonal and lyrical, with a distinctly American flavor and a lot of folk influence. The vast majority of her pieces are either programmatic or poetic in inspiration. Except for the times when it becomes more overtly pop (such as her musicals) or jazz influenced, her music is similar in style and concept to that of Rick Sowash, and the many fans of Sowash’s popular recordings would likewise enjoy Harbach’s work. Performances by many St. Louis-area musicians are all strong.

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Works on This Recording

Incantata, for chamber ensemble by Barbara Harbach
Conductor:  James Richard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Chamber Players
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2011 
Date of Recording: 01/09/2012 
Venue:  Lee Theater, Touhill Performing Arts Cen 
Length: 20 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Harriet's Story, for voice, violin & piano by Barbara Harbach
Performer:  Alla Voskoboynikova (Piano), John McGrosso (Violin), Marlissa Hudson ()
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2011 
Date of Recording: 01/10/2012 
Venue:  Lee Theater, Touhill Performing Arts Cen 
Length: 11 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Phantom of the Dreams' Origin, for chamber ensemble by Barbara Harbach
Conductor:  James Richard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Chamber Players
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2012 
Date of Recording: 01/13/2013 
Venue:  Lee Theater, Touhill Performing Arts Cen 
Length: 32 Minutes 58 Secs. 
The Sounds of St. Louis, a suite in one movement, for brass by Barbara Harbach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Low Brass Collective
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2011 
Date of Recording: 01/11/2012 
Venue:  Lee Theater, Touhill Performing Arts Cen 
Length: 8 Minutes 26 Secs. 

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