BARBARA HARBACH (b.1946): The Music of, Vol. 4 - The Soul of Ra and Transformations for String Orchestra, Echoes from Tomorrow for Chamber Ensemble, Freeing the Caged Bird and Lilia Polka for Wind Quintet.
Catalogue Number: 01L084
Label: MSR Classics
Reference: MS 1255
Description: Harbach's music is always determinedly accessible, tonal and melodic, completely avoiding anything that might have been identified as a modernist trend at any point in the 20th century. A bracing strain of American mid-20th century romanticism, with nostalgic glances backward, characterizes these works, with their themes of life's struggles and lessons, basically positive outlook, and admiration for women of historical significance from the past. This last is most clearly spelled out in the four character portraits of the woodwind quintet. Transformations has an open-air, somewhat Coplandish quality, an American character-piece with folk allusions, while The Soul of Ra addresses more universal issues of loss and hope, death and the transcendence of the human spirit. Echoes tells a life story, inspired by an early 20th century silent film based on a 19th-century poem; gently nostalgic and purposeful in its narrative drive, with a vein of lyrical melancholy never far beneath the surface. Ensemble Istropolis, Bratislava Woodwind Quintet, Bratislava Chamber Orchstra; Kirk Trevor.