French Harp Works

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Maurice Ravel, André Caplet, (Henri Constant) Gabriel Pierné, Camille Saint-Saëns, Claude Debussy

Label: Classics

Media Format: Cassette

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: 790721-4

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Introduction and Allegro for flute, clarinet, harp Vanessa McKeand
Allegri Qt
Carol Wincene
Maurice Ravel Composer
David Campbell
Conte fantastique Allegri Qt
André Caplet Composer
Vanessa McKeand
Voyage au pays Vanessa McKeand
(Henri Constant) Gabriel Pierné Composer
Carol Wincene
Allegri Qt
Morceau de concert English Chamber Orchestra
Camille Saint-Saëns Composer
Vanessa McKeand
Edmon Colomer
Danse sacrée et danse profane Edmon Colomer
Vanessa McKeand
English Chamber Orchestra
Claude Debussy Composer

Composer or Director: Camille Saint-Saëns, Maurice Ravel, (Henri Constant) Gabriel Pierné, André Caplet, Claude Debussy

Label: Classics

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: 790721-2

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Morceau de concert Vanessa McKeand
English Chamber Orchestra
Camille Saint-Saëns Composer
Edmon Colomer
Introduction and Allegro for flute, clarinet, harp Allegri Qt
Maurice Ravel Composer
David Campbell
Carol Wincene
Vanessa McKeand
Voyage au pays Vanessa McKeand
(Henri Constant) Gabriel Pierné Composer
Carol Wincene
Allegri Qt
Conte fantastique Allegri Qt
Vanessa McKeand
André Caplet Composer
Danse sacrée et danse profane Vanessa McKeand
English Chamber Orchestra
Edmon Colomer
Claude Debussy Composer

Composer or Director: André Caplet, Camille Saint-Saëns, (Henri Constant) Gabriel Pierné, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy

Label: Classics

Media Format: Vinyl

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: 790721-1

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Conte fantastique Allegri Qt
André Caplet Composer
Vanessa McKeand
Morceau de concert Vanessa McKeand
Edmon Colomer
Camille Saint-Saëns Composer
English Chamber Orchestra
Voyage au pays Carol Wincene
Vanessa McKeand
(Henri Constant) Gabriel Pierné Composer
Allegri Qt
Introduction and Allegro for flute, clarinet, harp David Campbell
Allegri Qt
Carol Wincene
Vanessa McKeand
Maurice Ravel Composer
Danse sacrée et danse profane Edmon Colomer
Vanessa McKeand
Claude Debussy Composer
English Chamber Orchestra
Ravel, like Chopin and Brahms—or for that matter Beethoven, who more than anyone opened music up to the romantic spirit that dominated the nineteenth century—isn't easily classified, for all the tenderness and passion of his music.
And where does that get us, with regard to the present issue in which the first work is his Introduction and Allegro? Well, perhaps to the conclusion that even this rapturously beautiful piece can be played legitimately in a fairly straightforward way, without especially refined tonal and rhythmic nuances and subtleties. Nevertheless, I have at this point to say that I find this a cool performance. It is fluent and attractive, and Vanessa McKeand is sure and by no means unstylish, but (although it's well recorded too) I simply fail to find the sheer magic that the work usually conjures up.
This is strange; because the same player together with different colleagues creates the right sense of hushed, hieratic mystery at the start of Debussy's Danse sacree: the companion Danse profane (still lucid in its spiritual purity) is good too and I enjoyed this Debussy work far more than the Ravel. Here indeed McKeand is much more impressive and Edmon Colomer (who comes from Spain) accompanies sympathetically with the English Chamber Orchestra. The harpist and the Allegri Quartet are equally idiomatic in Caplet's Conte fantastique based on Poe's sinister story The Masque of the Red Death, which is a truly spine-tingling piece: it's some time since I heard it and I'd forgotten how effective it was and indeed how imaginative a composer was Caplet himself. (Incidentally, no less a musician than Debussy enlisted his help as an orchestrator when composing his Martyre de Saint Sebastien, of which Caplet conducted the first performance.) There ought to be more of his work in the catalogue, but this will do very well to be going on with. I've left little space to do more than praise the performances of the Pierne and pieces Saint-Saens pieces, which are both substantial (each is longer than the Ravel Introduction and Allegro) and well worth having too; it must be coincidence that the Pierne delightfully looks forward to the exquisite song with harp obbligato in Britten's Nocturne. Congratulations to Virgin Classics on an enterprising and well-realized issue—though I still wish that the Ravel piece for which many will buy it were a little more magical.'

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