Music For Harp - Middle Ages To The 20th Century

Release Date: 1/1/1992
Label: Vox
Catalog Number: CD3X-3019
Number of Discs: 3

Physical Format:

CD
In Stock
$17.99
Notes and Editorial Reviews
...Ricci's performance of the Adagio [from the Spohr Concertante] could not be bettered and he has a worthy partner in Susanna Mildonian... Louis de Froment is an admirable accompanist and the recording...is admirably clear and well balanced.

-- Gramophone [6/1979, reviewing an LP release of the Spohr]

-----------------------------------

The chromatic harp is an idiosyncratic and, outside certain simple formulae, difficult instrument to write for; it has also been hard for it to escape from its 'romantic' image. Think of the harp, think of arpeggios (isn't that what the word signifies?), and those traversed with a sweep of the hand are inevitably colourful because you can't do it with a simple triad. Harp concertos have never been numerous and, other than Mozart and Handel, have come and gone like recorded ships in the night. Glière's has survived but Zabaleta's account of Reinecke's has long gone (DG 138 853, 11/63). Hard to realize the Glihre was written as late as 1939 —broad but fairly commonplace tunes, ultraconservative structure and language, arpeggios galore are its lot, music to relax and dream to. Michel is a fine harpist and her Glibre fully matches Ellis's older and less crisply recorded version on Decca, but neither can transmute the music's pewter to gold. The Reinecke is a more demonstrative and developed work, not written 'Out of its time', exploiting the resources of the harp in both solo and subsidiary roles, the flanking movements with cyclic connections.

The slow movement is exceptionally beautiful, the opening theme given by harp and trombone in hushed unison, and later, in ethereal harmonies on the harp with quiet responses from the strings. Michel presses a little ahead of her colleagues at times (notably the unisoni trombone) but generally benefits from skilful orchestration, sensitive support and well balanced recording. Written for a 'commoner' instrument the Reinecke might have become an oft-heard standard in the repertoire- it may still find favour with anyone following my advice to buy this recording.

-- Gramophone [4/1980, reviewing the LP release of the Gliere and Reinecke concertos]

-----------------------------------

The novelty for me—and I daresay it may be for others too—was Roussel's Serenade of 1925, refreshing music that while keeping well clear of profundities, is yet most elegantly fashioned, urbane and full of wry charm. Here you will find the Melos Ensemble more smiling and certainly more kaleidescopic in colour. The Turnabout team are a bit more serious about the musical argument, a bit less bemused by effects of tone colouring. The flautist, Wilhelm Schwegler, also unfortunately has to breathe, whereas Richard Adeney's instrument (I presume it is Adeney) miraculously seems to play itself without audible intakes of air. It is Adeney's tonal bloom, his wider range of dynamics and colour and more malleable phrasing that in the first place succeeds in making Debussy's sonata sound more beguiling than the cheaper version, and especially in the opening Pastorale—considered by many critics no less seductive than the famous L'apres-midi. In this movement the Turnabout team do not react subtly and sensitively enough to detail, whereas the Melos are constantly reading between the lines and yielding rhythmically to this and that. But perhaps you could argue that the graver pulse chosen by the Germans for the Minuetto emphasizes its archaic, hieratic quality. I also thought they manage to define individual notes a bit more precisely in the finale than the Melos, who are sometimes a bit too impressionistic in their fluidity for this movement, where Debussy, "Musicien Francais", is very definitely looking back to seventeenth-and eighteenthcentury French classicism.

The performance I enjoyed most was the old, familiar Ravel from the Endres Quartet with Helga Storck, Konrad Hampe and Gerd Starke. The music, of course, is much less equivocal than the Debussy, and these players respond to its sensuous languor and tingling darts with more immediacy than I detected anywhere else on this record.

-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [2/1969, reviewing the LP release of the Debussy, Ravel, and Roussel works]
Works on This Recording
1. Concerto for Harp in E minor, Op. 182 by Carl Reinecke
Performer: Catherine Michel (Harp )
Conductor: Louis de Froment
Period: Romantic
2. Morceau de Concert for Harp and Orchestra in G major, Op. 154 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer: Catherine Michel (Harp )
Conductor: Louis de Froment
Period: Romantic
Written: 1918 ; France
3. Concerto for Violin and Harp by Louis Spohr
Performer: Ruggiero Ricci (Violin), Susanna Mildonian (Harp )
Conductor: Louis de Froment
Period: Romantic
Written: 1807 ; France
4. Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet by Maurice Ravel
Performer: Helga Storck (Harp ), Konrad Hampe (Flute), Gerd Starke (Clarinet)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Endres String Quartet
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1905 ; France
5. Concerto for Harp in C major by François Boieldieu
Performer: Marie-Claire Jamet (Harp )
Conductor: Paul Kuentz
Orchestra/Ensemble: Paul Kuentz Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: by 1801 ; Paris, France
6. Concerto for Harpsichord in A major by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
Performer: Helga Storck (Harp )
Conductor: Jörg Faerber
Period: Classical
Written: 18th Century ; Austria
7. Concerto for Harp in B flat major, Op. 4 no 6/HWV 294 by George Frideric Handel
Performer: Marie-Claire Jamet (Harp )
Conductor: Paul Kuentz
Orchestra/Ensemble: Paul Kuentz Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque
Written: 1736 ; London, England
8. Concerto for Harp, Op. 74 by Reinhold Gliere
Performer: Catherine Michel (Harp )
Conductor: Louis de Froment
Period: Romantic
Written: 1938 ; USSR
9. Concertstück for Harp and Orchestra, Op. 39 by Gabriel Pierné
Performer: Catherine Michel (Harp )
Conductor: Louis de Froment
Period: Romantic
Written: 1903 ; France
10. Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp by Claude Debussy
Performer: Fritz Ruf (Viola), Helga Storck (Harp ), Wilhelm Schwegler (Flute)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1915 ; France
11. Serenade for Flute, Violin, Viola, Cello and Harp, Op. 30 by Albert Roussel
Performer: Helga Storck (Harp ), Wilhelm Schwegler (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Endres String Quartet members
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1925 ; France
12. Fantaisie for Harp, Op. 95 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer: Catherine Michel (Harp )
Period: Romantic
Written: 1893 ; France
13. My thousand times beloved by Traditional
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Period: Baroque
14. Pastheen Fionn by Traditional
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Period: Baroque
15. My Lady Greensleeves by Traditional
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
16. Trotto by Anonymous
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Period: Renaissance
Written: 14th Century ; Italy
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Period: Renaissance
Written: 15th Century ; Italy
18. Danse Royale by Anonymous
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Period: Medieval
Written: 13th Century ; France
19. Lamento di Tristano et La Rotta by Anonymous
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Period: Medieval
Written: after 1300 ; Italy
20. Gaillarde by Claude Gervaise
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Period: Renaissance
Written: 16th Century ; France
21. Branle de Bourgogne by Claude Gervaise
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Period: Renaissance
Written: 16th Century ; France
22. Branle de Champagne by Claude Gervaise
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Period: Renaissance
Written: 16th Century ; France
23. Pavane d'Angleterre and Galliard by Claude Gervaise
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Period: Renaissance
Written: 16th Century ; France
24. Impromptu-caprice for Harp in A flat major, Op. 9 by Gabriel Pierné
Performer: Catherine Michel (Harp )
Period: Romantic
Written: 1885/1900 ; France
25. Allerêst lebe ich mir werde "Palästinalied" by Walther von der Vogelweide
Performer: Elena Polonska (Harp )
Customer Reviews