Harbach Vol. 12: Orchestral Music IV

Record Label: MSR Classics
Release Date: November 2018

Symphonic Storytelling

DAVID ANGUS, conductor


“This [CD] opens with Symphony 11, a tuneful work which, like her Symphony 7, depicts scenes from Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! It has open American sounds and luscious solos for horn, trumpet, oboe, and percussion. The London Philharmonic under David Angus seems to be having a good time with this straightforward, colorful, resolutely simple music… [The Hypocrisy Suite] is more varied, but Harbach’s tunefulness and spare polyphony are ever-present. This piece actually sounds very much like film music, in the best sense. The finale has a plaintive, mournful quality and an affirmative close. [Harbach’s music] is colorful and well made.”
Sullivan, American Record Guide [May/June 2019]

“[Harbach’s] orchestration is imaginative and varied… the recording is fine and natural. The booklet is very detailed and worthy of praise in its own right.”
MusicWeb International [June 2019]

“It is not necessary to use voices at all in order to tell stories in and with music. That is the lesson of a (++++) MSR Classics CD offering yet more of the music of Barbara Harbach… [this CD is] one of the best and most interesting of the series. Both the works here are world première recordings, and both use strictly orchestral means to communicate a series of emotions every bit as clearly as could be done by setting words… the 55-minute [film music] suite sustains very well, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra under David Angus plays both the suite and the symphony with dedication and obvious respect for what Harbach is trying to communicate.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad.com [June 2019]

“Barbara Harbach’s ‘Orchestral Music IV’ [can] provide a more than ample introduction to her prodigious body of symphonic storytelling or a further indulgence in her musical art for anyone who knows it well. Taking an overview, the two compositions on this CD are a rare treat for the ears across the full audible spectrum… Harbach has woven a wide variety of sounds from stringed, wind and percussion instruments… Under the baton of David Angus, they are transformed into highly enjoyable and listenable montages, which are also superb examples of current day recording.”
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [June 2019]

“This is a well-filled disc of highly enjoyable music, brilliantly performed by one of London’s top orchestras (the Vladimir Jurowski years have really worked wonders on this band) and heard in magnificent sound from Blackheath Concert Halls. The sonic standard is hardly surprising, given that the sound engineer is the renowned Mike Hatch of Floating Earth.
Excellent from all angles.”
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [March/April 2019]

“In the finale [of Hypocrisy] Harbach ties all the strands of her orchestral tapestry together with brilliant orchestration that produces a musical cloth-of-gold… The sound on this recording is clear and clean. Each solo instrument is will balanced with the rest of the orchestra. Conductor David Angus gives listeners a wide range of tempi and dynamics and he brings out the many musical colors in Harbach’s writing. I enjoyed listening to both Retourner and Hypocrisy and think listeners will want to own this disc.”
Maria Nockin, Fanfare [March/April 2019]

“Harbach communicates her thoughts in a masterful and convincing way. I was engaged by this disc from start to finish, and look forward to further exploration of Barbara Harbach’s work… Of course, great credit must go as well to the interpreters. The London Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Angus offer beautiful, superbly executed performances, all captured in a rich, detailed, and natural concert hall acoustic. The excellent liner notes provide a wealth of detail on the featured works. This is a first-rate disc in every way and a fine example of how the art of orchestral music continues to flourish in
our day. Warmly recommended.”
Ken Meltzer, Fanfare [March/April 2019]

“[David Angus and the London Philharmonic] certainly sound “inside” the music. The recorded sound is clean… For those who enjoy the more conservative strands of contemporary American music, this disc is definitely worth getting to know. Harbach brings a fresh, vivid, warm voice to both works on the program.”
Henry Fogel, Fanfare [March/April 2019]