LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
HARBACH VOL.7: MUSIC FOR STRINGS
LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
David Angus, Conductor
World Premiere Recordings
“[In Memoriam is] simply stone beautiful. I worried that the emotional climax of the piece occurs less than half-way in – a real risk. How could she possibly sustain interest? Yet the piece gripped me to the end. I especially enjoyed her occasional elongation of phrases by an extra beat, as if the mind stopped to reflect on a particular soul now gone... [the Polka] exudes lightness and charm, especially in its gently syncopated first theme. Harbach arranges it with skill and taste... The LPO does a very fine job... The entire production is quite good, from recording to liner notes.”
Steve Schwartz ClassicalNet [November 2014]
“the London Philharmonic…really excels in the Music for Strings. Rarely have I heard the orchestra’s string section play with such golden tone as in the lush and lavish “Hommage” first movement of the Sinfonietta. Conductor David Angus judges both tempo and textures perfectly. Harbach’s interior, deep side is heard in the In Memoriam: Turn Round, O My Soul (how perfectly judged are the low string pizzicatos around a minute in), while the Freedom Suite owes much to Harbach’s interest in strong women (here Harriet Scott). The use of spirituals is to the forefront here, and Harbach weaves them miraculously into her tapestry… The Two Songs from The Sacred Harp exude confidence, both from composer and performers. They are highly atmospheric miniatures, too… Interestingly, Nights in Timişoara invokes the Romanian people and the city that is known as “the city of flowers.” It is a more sophisticated piece, contrasting with the final item, an arrangement of Kate Chopin’s Lilia Polka for strings. Delightful... vibrant, stirring music that begs to be heard. Harbach is an individual voice of great skill.”
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [July/August 2012]
“My late MusicWeb International colleague Bob Briggs was passionate about the music of Barbara Harbach …and I’m going to join Bob in enthusiastic advocacy of her music… Her works are distinctive and immediately appealing. This is a tonal, in some ways old-fashioned American sound, with plaintive harmonies, hymn-like tunes, and a simple beauty throughout. But I’m misusing the word simple, because Harbach’s music is finely crafted at all times; this is a composer whose every stroke makes her ability clear… It’s hard to describe Harbach’s style because she falls in that unfortunate no-man’s-land of contemporary composition: music that’s undeniably rewarding to listen to from the very start, and appealing to everybody, but not at all kitschy, pandering or simplistic. New should always mean different, and while Harbach has clear antecedents she’s no imitation, but new shouldn’t always mean taxing, and this CD is not… for those who admire polished string music in the tradition of Barber, Vaughan Williams, and Grieg, with a generous dollop of Americana, this album will be a treat. I’ll be seeking out more of Harbach’s music in time; the previous volumes in this series have been well-loved on this site too. Truly a voice worth hearing.”
Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International [July 2012]
“[Harbach has] a sense of lyricism and an appreciation for beauty and elegance... Freedom Suite, from 2010, is a very strong piece… convincing scoring and moments of sublimity... Harbach’s writing is shot through with Americana—folk songs, spirituals, Sacred Harp melodies, etc… ‘Remember the Ladies Tango’ is a charmer, and the whole Demarest Suite is joyful and skillfully written.”
Estep, American Record Guide [September/October 2012]
"everything here is quite likeable and non-weighty and certainly worth one’s time"
Daniel Coombs, Audiophile Audition [May 2012]
Barbara Harbach is WFIU’s Featured Contemporary Composer for February 2012
WFIU Radio: Arts & Music, Indiana [February 2012]
has a large catalog of compositions, including symphonies, opera, musicals, film scores, modern ballets, choral anthems and works for organ, harpsichord, piano, chamber ensemble, string orchestra and numerous brass and organ arrangements of Baroque works. She is also involved in the research, editing, publication and recording of manuscripts of eighteenth-century keyboard composers, as well as historical and contemporary women composers. Her work is available in both recorded and published form through MSR Classics, Naxos Records, Gasparo Records, Kingdom Records, Albany Records, Northeastern Records, Hester Park, Robert King Music, Elkan-Vogel, Augsburg Fortress, Agape Music and Vivace Press. In June, 2009, her musical Booth! was premiered in New York City, where it also won a competition at the Tisch School of the Arts. O Pioneers! – an American Opera was premiered in October 2009 at the University of Missouri- St. Louis. Harbach has toured extensively as both a concert organist and harpsichordist. Her lively
performances and recordings have captured the imagination of many American composers, and the body of work written for and dedicated to her is substantial. She was host of the weekly television music series Palouse Performance, seen throughout the Inland Northwest. Barbara Harbach initiated Women in the Arts-St. Louis, a celebration of the achievements of women creators. In recognition of her efforts in this regard, she was the recipient in 2006 of the Arts Education Award from the Missouri Arts Council, Missouri Citizen for the Arts Award, Yellow Rose Award from the Zonta International Club, UM-St. Louis College of Fine Arts and Communication Faculty Excellence Award and in 2007 the Hellenic Spirit Foundation Award. In May 2011, she received the Grand Center Award for “successful working artist,” and in December 2011 the YWCA Leaders of Distinction Award in the Arts. Currently professor of music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Barbara Harbach holds academic degrees from Pennsylvania State University (BA), Yale University (MMA), Musikhochschule (Konzertdiplom) in Frankfurt and the Eastman School of Music (DMA). In 2002, she received an honorary doctorate in music, honoris causa, from Wilmington College in Ohio for her lifetime achievement as a composer, performer, editor and publisher.
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 most 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 and London Mozart Players, both in concert and in the studio, and also conducts across Europe, particularly in Scandinavia where he is a regular guest with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and several Danish orchestras. 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.
II. Jeu Jeu
IN MEMORIAM: TURN ROUND, O MY SOUL
I. Harriet Scott – A Strong Woman
II. Eliza and Lizzie – Let My People Go!
III. Freedom – At Last
TWO SONGS FROM THE SACRED HARP
I. The Morning Trumpet
I. Echoes of Our Youth
II. Remember the Ladies Tango
III. Joyous Day
NIGHTS IN TIMISOARA