HARBACH VOL.12: ORCHESTRAL MUSIC IVSymphonic Storytelling
LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
DAVID ANGUS, conductor
World Premiere Recordings
"This [CD] opens with Symphony 11, a tuneful work which, like her Symphony 7, depicts scenes from Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!. It has open American sounds and luscious solos for horn, trumpet, oboe, and percussion. The London Philharmonic under David Angus seems to be having a good time with this straightforward, colorful, resolutely simple music... [The Hypocrisy Suite] is more varied, but Harbach’s tunefulness and spare polyphony are ever-present. This piece actually sounds very much like film music, in the best sense. The finale has a plaintive, mournful quality and an affirmative close. [Harbach’s music] is colorful and well made."
Sullivan, American Record Guide [May/June 2019]
"[Harbach's] orchestration is imaginative and varied... the recording is fine and natural. The booklet is very detailed and worthy of praise in its own right."
MusicWeb International [June 2019]
"It is not necessary to use voices at all in order to tell stories in and with music. That is the lesson of a (++++) MSR Classics CD offering yet more of the music of Barbara Harbach... [thIs CD is] one of the best and most interesting of the series. Both the works here are world première recordings, and both use strictly orchestral means to communicate a series of emotions every bit as clearly as could be done by setting words... the 55-minute [film music] suite sustains very well, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra under David Angus plays both the suite and the symphony with dedication and obvious respect for what Harbach is trying to communicate."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad.com [June 2019]
"Barbara Harbach’s 'Orchestral Music IV' [can] provide a more than ample introduction to her prodigious body of symphonic storytelling or a further indulgence in her musical art for anyone who knows it well. Taking an overview, the two compositions on this CD are a rare treat for the ears across the full audible spectrum... Harbach has woven a wide variety of sounds from stringed, wind and percussion instruments... Under the baton of David Angus, they are transformed into highly enjoyable and listenable montages, which are also superb examples of current day recording."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [June 2019]
"This is a well-filled disc of highly enjoyable music, brilliantly performed by one of London’s top orchestras (the Vladimir Jurowski years have really worked wonders on this band) and heard in magnificent sound from Blackheath Concert Halls. The sonic standard is hardly surprising, given that the sound engineer is the renowned Mike Hatch of Floating Earth. Excellent from all angles."
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [March/April 2019]
"In the finale [of Hypocrisy] Harbach ties all the strands of her orchestral tapestry together with brilliant orchestration that produces a musical cloth-of-gold... The sound on this recording is clear and clean. Each solo instrument is will balanced with the rest of the orchestra. Conductor David Angus gives listeners a wide range of tempi and dynamics and he brings out the many musical colors in Harbach’s writing. I enjoyed listening to both Retourner and Hypocrisy and think listeners will want to own this disc."
Maria Nockin, Fanfare [March/April 2019]
"Harbach communicates her thoughts in a masterful and convincing way. I was engaged by this disc from start to finish, and look forward to further exploration of Barbara Harbach’s work... Of course, great credit must go as well to the interpreters. The London Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Angus offer beautiful, superbly executed performances, all captured in a rich, detailed, and natural concert hall acoustic. The excellent liner notes provide a wealth of detail on the featured works. This is a first-rate disc in every way and a fine example of how the art of orchestral music continues to flourish in our day. Warmly recommended."
Ken Meltzer, Fanfare [March/April 2019]
"[David Angus and the London Philharmonic] certainly sound “inside” the music. The recorded sound is clean... For those who enjoy the more conservative strands of contemporary American music, this disc is definitely worth getting to know. Harbach brings a fresh, vivid, warm voice to both works on the program."
Henry Fogel, Fanfare [March/April 2019]
PROGRAM NOTESBarbara Harbach has a large catalog of works, including symphonies, operas, works for string and chamber ensemble, choral anthems, ballet, musicals and film scores, pieces for organ, harpsichord and piano, and arrangements of Baroque works for brass and organ. A gifted performer as well, Harbach has toured extensively as both concert organist and harpsichordist throughout the United States and Canada, and overseas throughout Europe and Asia. Her lively performances and recordings have captured the imagination of many American composers; the body of work written for and dedicated to her is substantial. Harbach is also heavily involved in the research, editing, publication and recording of manuscripts of 18th-century keyboard composers, as well as historical and contemporary women composers. A prolific composer, Harbach’s work is published by Vivace Press, Robert King Music, Elkan-Vogel Augsburg Fortress, Encore Music Publishers, Art of Sound Music and Agape Music. As a highly active recording artist, her performances are available from MSR Classics, Naxos Records, Gasparo Records, Kingdom Records, Albany Records, Northeastern Records and Hester Park. Harbach, who serves as editor of the WomenArts Quarterly Journal, initiated Women in the Arts in St. Louis, a celebration of the achievements of women creators. More than 800 events by cultural organizations in the region have provided audiences with new and historical examples of the work of women writers, composers and artists. In recognition of this achievement, she received the Arts Education Award from the Missouri Arts Council, the Missouri Citizen for the Arts Award, the Yellow Rose Award from the Zonta International Club of St. Louis, and the Faculty Excellence Award from the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. The winner of numerous awards and honors, Harbach received the Hellenic Spirit Foundation Award, the Grand Center Visionary Award for “Successful Working Artist,” the Argus Foundation Award, and the YWCA Leader of Distinction Award in the Arts. She was recently named National Arts Associate Distinguished Member of the Buffalo Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, and one of the “30 Most Innovative Women Professors Alive Today.” Harbach is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate in music, Honoris Causa, from Wilmington College, Ohio for her lifetime achievement as a composer, performer, editor and publisher. Currently a Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Music and Director of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Missouri, Harbach holds academic degrees from Pennsylvania State University (BA), Yale University (MMA), Musikhochschule (Konzertdiplom) in Frankfurt, and the Eastman School of Music (DMA).
Born in England, David Angus spent his early years in Belfast. He was a boy chorister at King’s College, Cambridge, under Sir David Willcocks, and read music at Surrey University where he specialized as a pianist. He finished his training with a Fellowship in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he won several prizes for his opera conducting. In the United States, Angus has appeared with the Utah Symphony and San Antonio Symphony, in Canada with the Calgary Philharmonic, and in the United Kingdom with many of their major orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Northern Sinfonia. He appears regularly with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and London Mozart Players, both in concert and in the studio, and also conducts across Europe, particularly in Denmark and in Scandinavia, where he is a regular guest with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Angus is Music Director of Boston Lyric Opera and Honorary Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Flanders, following several successful years there as Principal Conductor. He is heard frequently on BBC Radio 3 and on stations in Austria, Ireland, Holland, Denmark, Italy and Belgium.
SYMPHONY NO.11 “RETOURNER”
I. Return, Debate
II. Our Sweet and Carefree Youth
III. The Art of Tarot
HYPOCRISY – ORCHESTRAL SUITE
I. The Gates of Truth
IV. Elusive Truths
V. Gabriel the Ascetic
VII. Fated Féte Day
VIII. Dancing Children
IX. Shock and Death
X. Robe of Mourning
XI. Vignette of Love
XII. Mixed Signals
XIII. Sermon of Hypocrisy
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