Gianetta Baril | Luminescence

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Classical: Debussy Classical: Impressionism Moods: Solo Instrumental
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by Gianetta Baril

A collection of passionate and joyous classical harp pieces which convey a certain "luminescence", a light that emanates from within, intangible but very real.
Genre: Classical: Debussy
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sonatina Prodigio: I. Gagliarda - Ii. Canzone - III. Toccata
5:38 $0.99
2. Variations Sur Un Thème Dans Le Style Ancien, Op. 30
9:49 $0.99
3. Deux Arabesques, L. 66: I. Andantino Con Moto (Transc. for Harp)
4:26 $0.99
4. Préludes, Book I, L. 117: Vii. La Fille Aux Cheveux De Lin (Transc. for Harp)
2:14 $0.99
5. Impromptu, Op. 86
8:38 $0.99
6. La Source, Op. 44
4:03 $0.99
7. 5 Preludes: I. Quietude
2:37 $0.99
8. Chanson Dans La Nuit
3:27 $0.99
9. Sonatine No. 1, Op. 30: I. Allegrement
5:22 $0.99
10. Sonatine No. 1, Op. 30: Ii. Calme Et Expressif
4:12 $0.99
11. Sonatine No. 1, Op. 30: III. Fievreusement
5:47 $0.99
12. Feuillets D'album: I. Esquisse
2:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The composers represented on this disc are descendants of the French school of composition from the first half of the 20th century, as well as of the French school of harp playing, developed in large part by the great harpist and teacher Alphonse Hasselmanns. Highlighted in this recording are some of the most passionate and joyous works from this period. They all convey a certain “luminescence”, a light that emanates from within, intangible but very real.

The programme begins with the brilliant Sonatina Prodigio by Italian composer Virgilio Mortari (1902- 1993). Although composed in the mid-20th Century it is set in a decidedly Rennaissance style.

Carlos Salzedo (1885-1961) was without doubt, one of the most important and progressive harpist/composers of the 20th Century. A student of Henriette Renié at the Paris Conservatoire, much of his music employs the lush harmonies of the French Impressionists though his early works are based upon more traditional harmonies. The Variations sur un theme dans le style ancien Op. 30 begins with a majestic theme “in the old style” and is followed by eight variations, each presenting differing musical and technical challenges. The work overall represents a wonderful tribute to baroque composition.

Both Debussy’s beloved Prelude VIII La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the flaxen hair) and Premiere Arabesque are performed in transcriptions by Salzedo, who provides harpists as well as audiences the opportunity to enjoy works by a composer who, although he did write beautifully for the harp, composed far too little during life, cut short in an air raid in Paris in 1918.

The Impromptu op. 86 by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was composed in 1904 as a competition piece for the Conservatoire in Paris. The Impromptu is a freely composed form, always presenting an improvised quality that reflects the luminosity of music. (Its introductory chordal introduction, and continuing to explore the various colours of sound throughout the range of the harp from its lowest full-throated bass register to its most gossamer and ethereal top register.)

La Source op. 44 (The Brook) is actually a Concert Etude, composed for the annual competition at the Conservatoire de Paris by Alphonse Hasselmans (1845-1912) professor of harp at the Conservatoire, widely considered the grandfather of the modern harp world, having tutored Renie, Salzedo and Grandjany among many other important harpists of the late 19th/ early 20th centuries.

Over his long career, Salzedo contributed much significant repertoire always challenging not only the technical and harmonic limitations of the instrument, basing his harmonies largely on Ravel’s harmonic techniques but also looking for new effects which pushed the boundaries of the “traditional” style of playing the harp entirely with the fingertips. Some of these effects are demonstrated in his Chanson dans la Nuit (Song in the Night) eg. sliding the hand on the wire strings for a “whistle” effect, tapping the soundboard of the harp or playing with nails. These techniques are used with great success to create the impression of a summer night, filled with insects sounds, wind blowing, a dance and even a bell tolling to mark the beginning of a new day. Quietude is one of Salzedo’s Five Preludes, written in the unusual time signature of 5/8, composed in 1915, long before the jazz great Dave Brubeck first made a statement with it in his famous piece “Take Five.”

Another representative of the school of French harp composition and performance is Marcel Tournier (1879-1951). A student of Hasselmans, he also succeeded him as professor of harp in Paris. While studying composition there, he was exposed to the harmonies being explored by the Impressionist composers like Debussy and Ravel and, being a harpist himself, took advantage of the mechanical abilities of the harp, widely expanding the use of these harmonies more than any composer before him. His three-movement Sonatine Op. 30, is not only extraordinarily beautiful, but also one of the longest and most demanding pieces in the harp repertoire.

This CD recital finishes with a short musical gem by Henriette Renie (1875-1956). A deeply religious woman, her lovely Esquisse (Sketch) reflects an inner beauty and conviction that guided and maintained her spirit through many hardships, poverty, ill health and political scrutiny, leaving as a legacy the greatly expanded love of this most beautiful instrument, the harp.



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