SOLER: HARPSICHORD SONATAS 1-120Padre Samuel Rubio Edition
BARBARA HARBACH, harpsichord
Harpsichord built by Willard Martin in 1989, a copy of an 18th century two-manual French double harpsichord, designed by François Blanchet.
14-CD set: Limited Edition [500 pieces]
"[Harbach] goes for a very close recording with little ambiance around the instrument. However, this is not a bad thing as these sonatas lend themselves to this sort of aural examination, and one is energized upon hearing the delightful articulation and sprightly sense of bounciness and dance that she brings to the instrument, while the close up sound allows for the degree of intimacy we would most likely find in a drawing room during Soler’s time... These are tremendous recordings and an important addition to the catalog!"
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [December 2015]
“We look to his masterful Harpsichord Sonatas...for his early classical inventiveness. Barbara Harbach gives us an exhaustive, but certainly not exhausting rendition of the 120 in the recent limited edition box set. They are a remarkable body of music, rhythmically lively, filled with clarity of form and singing melodic charm... Barbara Harbach sounds entirely ravishing in her performances throughout. She seems just right on Willard Martin's 1989 copy of an 18th century two-manual French harpsichord. And the recording has a pristine clarity of sound that goes far in making the music come alive... played with great verve and there is no time or mood where the music does not fit in, in my experience. It is something to cheer you in the new year ahead! ”
Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Review [December 2015]
“This MSR Classics release is a joy from start to finish... Harbach is a wonderful advocate for this music, and the music itself is wonderful on so many levels and in so many ways that this Soler collection is flat-out treasurable. It is safe to predict that it will amply repay many listenings over many years.”
InfoDad [October 2015]
“[the performances] are bright, lively, and beautifully articulated, recorded very well so as to capture the full range of the instrument with just enough natural room ambience. Whether you are a Soler fanatic who wants it all or a performer or scholar who wants a handy reference to this music, this set is a valuable resource.”
Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare [September/October 2015]
[ 8 / 8 ] “Harbach’s harpsichord is reproduced in a close-up, slightly dry yet vividly clear recording. The sonics suit Harbach’s centered, straightforward, and technically meticulous interpretations... She shapes ornaments with pointed consistency, and illuminates striking harmonic ideas without belaboring them. Harbach’s finely honed distinctions between sustained and detached articulations pay particular expressive dividends in slower movements... Harbach’s booklet notes reflect her enthusiasm and devotion, her perspective and painstaking scholarship, and a genuine desire for this repertoire to reach a wider audience... the purity and integrity of Harbach’s best performances compel in their own way.”
Jed Distler, Classics Today [June 2015]
PROGRAM NOTESInformation on the life of Antonio Soler is almost non-existent, primarily because he entered the Escolania of the Monastery of Montserrat in 1736 as a young boy to study music (organ and composition) and then remained behind the religious screen of monastic living. Thus, the details of his life were not public information. Soler was born in Olot de Porrera in Catalonia, Spain in 1729 and became organist and sub-deacon at the Cathedral of La Seu d’Urgell in 1744. He later became chapel master in Lleida and at the Royal Court in El Escorial. He took holy orders at age 23 and developed a busy routine as a Hieronymite in El Escorial, Madrid, remaining there for the rest of his life.
Most of the information on Soler’s life therefore originates from notes in the Memorias Sepulcrales at the Escorial. His father, Mateu Soler, was born in 1685 and served in the military band of the Numancia Regiment. His mother, Teresa Ramos, was born in 1702. Antonio Soler taught His Majesty the Infante Don Gabriel, a son of King Carlos III, when the Royal Court came to the Escorial, and he composed a variety of special pieces for His Majesty that were carefully scrutinized by a court of experts. Soler’s duties as Chapel Master at the Escorial included composing concertos, quintets for organ and strings, motets, masses, organ works, vocal music (accompanied or a cappella), villancicos, and interludes for theater performances by the pupils at the monastery.
Soler was particularly well known throughout Europe for his harpsichord and organ compositions. However, of his more than 500 works, he was best known for his collection of approximately 130 keyboard sonatas, some of which may have been written as tutorial pieces for the Infante Don Gabriel. Soler also wrote a treatise, Llave de la Modulación (The Key to Modulation), in 1762; a facsimile reprint can still be obtained at Broude Brothers of New York. It is interesting to note that he mentioned Domenico Scarlatti in this work, as Soler may have studied with him when Scarlatti lived in Spain. A number of Soler’s letters also survive; in the Memorias Sepulcrales, several of his letters to Padre Giambattista Martini are full of modesty regarding his own abilities.
Barbara Harbach has toured extensively as a harpsichordist and concert organist throughout the United States and Canada, and internationally in Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Romania, Serbia and Siberia. 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 is also highly active in the research, editing, publication and recording of manuscripts of eighteenth-century keyboard composers, and historical and contemporary women composers. Also a prolific and highly regarded composer, Harbach has a large catalog of works, including; symphonies, operas, string orchestra, musicals, works for chamber ensembles, film scores, modern ballets, pieces for organ, harpsichord and piano; choral anthems; and many arrangements for brass and organ of various Baroque works. 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, Encore Music Publishers, Art of Sound Music, Agape Music and Vivace Press. Harbach serves as editor of the WomenArts Quarterly Journal, and was host of Palouse Performance, a weekly television music series seen throughout the Inland Northwest. Currently Curators’ Professor of music and director of women in the arts at the University of Missouri−St. Louis, 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.
[ www.barbaraharbach.com ]
HARPSICHORD SONATAS NOS.1-120
Padre Samuel Rubio Edition
Sonatas Nos.84-92 [I, II]
Sonatas Nos.92 [III, IV]-94
HARBACH VOL.13: ORCHESTRAL MUSIC V
Expressions for Orchestra BARBARA HARBACH
HARBACH VOL.5: VOCAL MUSIC
HARBACH VOL.12: ORCHESTRAL MUSIC IV
Symphonic Storytelling BARBARA HARBACH
Music for Violin, Cello and Organ BARBARA HARBACH
HARBACH VOL.10: CHAMBER MUSIC V
Soprano, Violin, Piano & Chamber Orchestra BARBARA HARBACH
J.S. BACH: ORGAN MUSIC
HARBACH VOL.9: ORCHESTRAL MUSIC II
Symphonies, Soundings & Celebrations BARBARA HARBACH
JS BACH: THE ART OF FUGUE & PACHELBEL
Komm Susser Tod
Pachelbel: Canon, Chorale BARBARA HARBACH
HARBACH VOL.8: CHAMBER MUSIC IV
Strings, Winds, Brass, Piano & Soprano BARBARA HARBACH