Harbach Vol. 6: Chamber Music III

Record Label: MSR Classics
Release Date: August 2010

Reeds, Brass, Strings, Harpsichord & Piano

Kurt Baldwin, David Gillham, Barbara Harbach, Paul Hecht, Paula Kasica, Cynthia Green Libby, John McGrosso, Joanna Mendoza, Ruth Price & Alla Voskoboynikova


“I said in a review of the second disc of chamber pieces [by Harbach] ‘her music is appealingly straightforward: themes are immediately attractive, forms clear, and textures and harmonies transparent.’ All still true… As she proves with a playful update of Scarlatti, Harbach is also a formidable harpsichordist. In this performance she savages the keyboard, at times making the instrument sound almost like an organ. Perambulations makes effective use of the infrequently heard combination of trumpet and piano. Harbach has a gift for both merging and contrasting the sounds of two instruments, and most of the duos treat the instruments as equals. But Perambulations is more like a sonata for trumpet, even including a brief cadenza, played with gorgeous tone by Paul Hecht… The concluding Emanations From the Sacred Harp…is a loving arrangement of five simple American hymns… This release provides many pleasurable moments, a few surprises, interesting timbral combinations, and more humor than can be found in the entire oeuvre of many contemporary composers… if you purchase any of the CDs in MSR’s series, you may wind up wanting them all.”
Ron Bierman, Music & Vision [June 2011]

” ‘Morning Fantasy’ from Emanations from the Sacred Harp is really nice; there’s appropriate drama, melodic interest, and it’s played with excellent phrasing by the cellist… Tres Danzas para Clavecin…has a welcome bite, and the glissandos are amusing… I’ve never heard a harpsichord sound more psychedelic, nor so full-bodied… Harbach has a sense of lyricism and an appreciation for beauty and elegance that most modern composers don’t.”
Estep, American Record Guide [May/June 2011

[This CD is] jam-packed with music which is both attractive and extremely accessible – melodic, tonal, structured, intelligent, varied… Given the variety of instruments on offer, there will likely be something for everyone on the disc… there are no weak works or fillers either… The sound quality is high… Harbach has worked tirelessly to promote the cause of women in the arts, for which work she has received a number of awards. It is to be hoped that soon her music too will start receiving greater recognition.”
Byzantion, MusicWeb International [March 2011]

“Here is a chamber music CD by an American composer whose work illustrates just how varied the current musical scene is in our country… most of this music has a quintessentially American tunefulness and vigor that should make it a favorite of recitalists. It gets first-rate advocacy from the composer and her colleagues at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The recordings, made in a number of venues in Missouri and New York State, are all very good—big, bright, with good presence. It’s a tribute to the MSR engineers that consistency is maintained throughout, regardless of venue.”
Lee Passarella, Audiophile Audition [February 2011]

“…these works are attractive and have instant melodic appeal… strong performances, including some from the composer herself…”
BBC Music [March 2011]

“Harbach’s music astonished me for its heavy reliance on the lyric and the beautifully (and cogently) framed melodic line. I could listen to her music for hours.”
American Record Guide [March/April 2008]

“Harbach has distinguished herself as one of the preeminent American composers of any generation.”
All Music Guide [December 2007]

“Nothing short of brilliant”
Musical America