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Hyperion Records

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The Embankment and Cleopatra's Needle at Night, London (c1910) by George Hyde Pownall (1876-1932)
Private Collection / Bourne Gallery, Reigate / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67991/2
Recording details: April 2012
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: May 2013
Total duration: 3 minutes 31 seconds

Valse harmonique
29 April 1917

Valse harmonique  [3'31]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Valse harmonique was composed five days after the Serenade, on 29 April 1917. Its title refers not to harmonic content, but to techniques whereby a violinist may lightly touch the string at various points, thereby shortening its sounding length and creating artificial overtones possessing a variety of pitches and distinctive timbres. The hurdy-gurdy effect of Bowen’s expert string-writing here complements the melancholic persistence of the Serenade in a wan, ashen expressionism disconcertingly at odds with the insouciance of the idiom itself. Whatever the true tone of this music, it would be surprising if Bowen had remained wholly free from occasional inner demons during 1917.

from notes by Francis Pott © 2013

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