Tag Archives: harp

Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major (“Harp”), Op. 74, great compositions/performances


Maurice Ravel – Introduction & Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet & String Quartet



Introduction & Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet & string quartet (1905)

Stuttgart Chamber Music Ensemble

The Introduction and Allegro (1905) is one of the few pieces by Ravel that has remained more or less in the shadows — save in the minds of harpists — throughout the last century. While it is certainly not among the composer’s most striking works, it is nevertheless a pleasant enough showpiece that looks forward to the raw sensuality of Daphnis et Chloé while hearkening back with great affection to the music of Chabrier and, especially, Franck. The full title of the work is Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Accompanied by a Quartet of Strings, Flute, and Clarinet. Although it is often conveniently designated a septet, it is really a kind of miniature (10-minute) harp concerto, complete with virtuoso writing and an extended central cadenza for the instrument. Chamber performances of the work, in fact, are few and far between; it is far more frequently heard in the orchestra hall with a full complement of strings. The general simplicity of form and harmony have led some to conclude that the Introduction and Allegro might have originally been composed as a test piece for the Paris Conservatoire; certainly it did not stand out sufficiently in Ravel’s own memory for him to include it in his list of works. 

The brief Très lent introduction presents two themes, the first for the woodwinds in leaping parallel thirds, the second an inverted-arch-shaped gesture sung by the strings in octaves. Presently a shimmering texture of arpeggios and woodwind double-tonguing takes over, inviting the cello to explore another melody before the harp rejoins the lush musical fabric. 

Twenty-six bars into the piece the Allegro commences. Now, as the harp makes an extended solo exploration of the melody presented earlier by the strings, a sonata form begins to take shape. A second, hemiola-ridden theme arrives in the woodwinds, accompanied pizzicato by the strings. The development of this material takes place in the usual fragmentary manner, building to an excited fff climax that breaks away abruptly as the harp assumes center stage with a cadenza. The recapitulation is quite straightforward, and the work ends without extensive fireworks or bombast of any kind. The Introduction and Allegro was first performed in late February 1907. [allmusic.com]

Art by Jean-Léon Gérôme

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C major, K. 299



Mozart – Flute and Harp Concerto in C, K. 299
The Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C major, K. 299 is a piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for flute, harp, and orchestra. It is one of only two true double concertos that he wrote, as well as the only piece of music that Mozart wrote that contains the harp. The piece is one of the most popular such concerti in the repertoire, as well as often being found on recordings dedicated otherwise to either one of its featured instruments. The concerto was written in April 1778 by Mozart during his sojourn to Paris for the Court of Guînes. It was commissioned (although never paid for) from Mozart, by the flautist Duke of Guînes, Adrien-Louis de Bonnières, and his harpist daughter who was taking composition lessons from the composer. The soloists in the piece will sometimes play with the orchestra, and at other times perform as a duo while the orchestra is resting. The flute and harp alternate having the melody and accompanying lines. In some passages, they also create counterpoint with just each other. Mozart concertos are standard in how they move harmonically, as well as that they adhere to the three-movement form of fast–slow–fast:
I. Allegro
The orchestra states both themes. The first is immediately present, and the second is introduced by the horn. Both themes fall under the conventional sonata form. The soli then re-work the already present themes.
I. Andantino
The short phrases in this movement are introduced by the strings, and become lyrically extended. This further develops into variations on the theme. The cadenza in this movement leads to a coda, where the orchestra and soli focus on the lyrical theme.
III. Rondeau — Allegro
The harmonic form is: A–B–C–D–C–B–{cadenza}–A(coda). Some music theorists feel that this is actually more of an arch than a typical rondo form, because music from the A section is still audible in the C and D sections.
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FREE .mp3 and .wav files of all Mozart’s music at: http://www.mozart-archiv.de/

Neil Young – Heart Of Gold



 Live from 1971. Neil digs around in his pockets trying to find the right harp and then plays a new song…Heart of Gold.

“Heart Of Gold”

I want to live,
I want to give
I’ve been a miner
for a heart of gold.
It’s these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.

I’ve been to Hollywood
I’ve been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean
for a heart of gold
I’ve been in my mind,
it’s such a fine line
That keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.

Keep me searching
for a heart of gold
You keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I’m growing old.
I’ve been a miner
for a heart of gold.