JOHN HARBISON (b.1938): Vol. 1 - Due libri dei motetti di Montale for Mezzo-Soprano and Ensemble [Lorraine Hunt Lieberson [mezzo], Greenleaf Chamber Players), Concerto for Oboe, Clarinet and Strings (Peggy Pearson [oboe], Jo-Ann Sternberg [clarinet], Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra; Scott Yoo), Piano Sonata No. 1 (Robert Shannon), Mirabai Songs for Soprano and Piano (Georgine Resick [soprano], Warren Jones [piano].
Catalogue Number: 04I084
Description: A useful compilation of recordings which have been available before, making up a fine introduction to Harbison's elegant and eloquent ensemble and instrumental music. Montale's poetry, with every precisely-chosen word carrying a wealth of resonating imagery beyond itself, finds an ideal match in Harbison's subtle but strongly characterised music. The concerto follows Baroque conventions but in a vocabulary of our time, harmonically free without by any means avoiding tonal references. The sonata is a freely fantastical work, with a probing, questing sense of harmonic ambiguity, avoiding over-emphasis on bravura gesture in favour of a great variety of touch, tone-colour and characterful episodic material. The Mirabai Songs represent again Harbison's naturally flowing style of vocal writing, with rich but uncluttered piano parts, a stronger sense of tonality present here than in the other works. Italian-English texts.