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Glière is best known for such vivid orchestral scores as his massive Third Symphony (Ilya Murometz) and the colourful Soviet ballet The Red Poppy, but he wrote works in a wide variety of genres and sometimes for unusual combinations, such as his 1942 Concerto for coloratura soprano and orchestra. He composed his Harp Concerto in E flat major, op 74 in 1938 for the harpist Ksenia Erdeli (1878-1971), whom he consulted so frequently on the effectiveness and practicality of his harp writing that he eventually offered to name her as joint composer of the work—an honour she declined. Scored for a comparatively small orchestra, the Harp Concerto could easily be performed by a chamber orchestra, which enhances its quality of charm and intimacy.
There is in fact little in its idiom to tell the listener in which century it was composed, and virtually nothing that couldn’t have been written 50 years before its actual date. Stylistically it is redolent both of Viennese classical style, with a tincture of Russian romantic nationalism—an ‘archaic’ mixture we are most familiar with in works like Tchaikovsky’s Mozartiana Suite
The three movements are conceived on an ample scale. The first is a full-scale, rather dreamy sonata-form movement with a highly melodic second subject that has been compared with Rachmaninov for sweeping lyricism. The Anadante second movement, begun by a brooding, low-lying passage in the strings, is cast as a theme and variations, the rather plaintive theme being simply announced by the harp. There are six variations, some of them calling for considerable bravura from the soloist. The finale is a cheerful and carefree rondo, its main tune almost Mozartian in cut and rhythm, but with plentiful displays of Russian folk-colouring in the intervening episodes.
from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2010
|Glière, Debussy & Mozart: Harp Concertos|
This album highlights the extraordinary talent of the Official Harpist to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, Claire Jones, joined by renowned flautist William Bennet OBE, as well as the English Chamber Orchestra to complete the release with Mozart’s Conc ...» More