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Handel: Harp Concertos

4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 13, 1990
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Product Details

  • Performer: Marisa Robles
  • Orchestra: Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
  • Conductor: Iona Brown
  • Composer: George Frederick Handel, Francois-Adrien Boieldieu, Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (November 13, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: London / Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041WI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,498 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Even if you're not a big fan of harp music, this wonderful disc is still a must-have. Containing music both well-known (the Handel concerto) and little known (the Dittersdorf) it also contains the masterpiece of the French late-classic composer Boieldieu -- his wonderful harp concerto. It is a memorable work, and bears a very individual stamp. The brisk and lyric opening movement has harmonic intimations of the Romantic period to come, as well as a limpid Classical clarity. The minor key slow movement is lovely and haunting, and the finale even one-ups the slow movement. A rondo in ostensible major-key, its main theme has an oscillation into the minor mode that almost sends shivers up your back, so visceral is its impact, though subtle nonetheless: it is a truly wondrous movement, haunting, achingly beautiful. The magnificent playing of the great Marisa Robles does full justice to the wonderful pieces on the album, and the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields is splendid. As bonuses, solo harp works by Mozart and Beethoven round out a fabulous menu of delectable works. If beauty in music is not your cup of tea, then by all means buy some John Cage (or acid rock or whathaveyou); but otherwise, you'll be delighted with this exquisite disc!
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Format: Audio CD
I have loved Handel's harp concerto Op.4, No.6. There has been many recordings but this rendition has been my favorite. Thanks to listening chance through Amazon, I could stop my long journey of search for this version. The rendition of Iona Brown and Marisa Robles is a little bit faster than that of others, which worked very well. Of course, other harp pieces in this CD are great and beautiful as well.
Whenever I listened to this CD, I feel warmth and peace of mind. It's unbelievable that you can get the precious thing with money of only $[money].
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this for the Handel and was immediately taken with the clarity of tone and an overall crystalline ambiance to the sound. There isn't a slip up anywhere on this recording. The performance is clean and the balance is extraordinary especially considering the soft sound of the harp opposed by an orchestra. This was no problem for the engineers and I don't know of any other recording of Harp concerti that is as successful as this one.

First on the disc is the Handel and this concerto is pretty famous. It also exists as an organ concerto and both versions are valid. The organ sound is quite different than the harp so the 2 versions can almost sound like different works. Handel's writing is engaging, supple and energetic. He has never written an awkward phrase that I'm aware of. His music always has strong direction forward and is brilliantly logical. This is no exception and the rhythmic energy in the music seems rooted in a lively dance-like bounce. I was literally doing a boogaloo in my chair while grinning widely as the music played. Ha! This is great stuff!

The 2nd work on the disc is a Boieldieu concerto and it has characteristics more typical of the Romantic period. Probably the high point of this piece is the slow central movement. This is very beautiful music that has plenty of drama to offset the gentle tinkling of Robles' Harp. His use of diminished chords and moderate dissonance gives a more modern impression than the Handel or the Dittersdorf. (which follows it on the disc) The Rondo Finale uses a line that is at first dissonant and then resolves partly into a slightly unsettling minor chord. This is alternated over and over with contrasting material and perhaps the theme is a bit tiresome after all the returns.
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Format: Audio CD
All the reviews here are gushing about the music and I mostly just want to add my agreement - one person here gave it 1 star because there was accompaniment, and he just wanted unaccompanied harp music. Fair warning: the label says "harp concertos" and that means there will be accompaniment with the harp. Everyone who knew what they were getting liked what they got very much, and I am among them!

One other thing: you might be tempted by a 2-disk set from London that includes most of the music on this disk: Harp Concertos. The Handel harp concerto is there, the Boieldieu and Dittersdorf is there. But the other works on the present disk are not there. So what else is there on that 2-disk set? Mozart's flute and harp concerto, and Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. Both very nice works, and I especially love the Rodrigo. But those are very easy to find, so I recommend this disk because the works here are harder to find.

A few recommendations in case you want the works included on that 2-disk set:

Mozart: Flute & Harp Concerto; Reinecke: Harp Concerto; Rodrigo: Concierto Serenata - All very nice. Be sure to notice that the Rodrigo piece there is the "Concierto Serenata" and not the "Concierto de Aranjuez." Anyway, this is my top choice for the Mozart flute & harp concerto. Something else to consider: an equally nice recording of the flute & harp concerto is available as part of one of those very good deal box sets:
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