JOHN HARBISON (b.1938): String Quartet No. 3, Fantasia on a Ground, Soprano and String Quartet: The Rewaking, Thanks Victor.
Catalogue Number: 12I076
Label: Musica Omnia
Description: Harbison's quartet is a substantial single-movement work in the composer's most accessible style, but none the less sophisticated for that; its hymn-like textures and phrasing and freely-flowing melodic polyphony make it instantly communicative and approachable, an ideal introduction to the immaculate craftsmanship typical of Harbison's chamber music. The Fantasia adheres to its structural foundations, allowing a clear view of Harbison's skill in weaving freely imaginative elements around a tightly organised formal device. If you don't already have the dedicatees' recording of The Rewaking (06H074) don't hesitate to acquire this one; Harbison's settings of William Carlos Williams to idiomatically written string accompaniments, incorporating atmospheric evocations of birdsong, are again among his most appealingly eloquent utterances among his works for small forces. The second disc is a lecture-recital, with excerpts from the main recording used as illustrations to Harbison's commentary on the compositional processes involved in the works. You hear him moving around his study, illustrating points at the piano; if the idea of attending an informal lecture by the composer appeals to you but you're not actually one of his composition students, then this pithy and naturally flowing presentation will be rewarding. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Lydian String Quartet, Dominique Labelle (soprano).