CD A0054: Quatuor Harpege Volume 2

Quatuor Harpege Volume 2

CD CoverThe second album from Quatuor Harpege, harp quartet, which was formed in Geneva in 1990, While the music is, in the main, standard solo harp repertoire, hearing these works as a quartet is rather unusual.

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Track Listing & Audio Samples

Extracts from “The Nutcracker” Suite
Arrangement Kajetan Attl
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Arab dance
Dance of the Toy Soldiers
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Anitra's Dance No5 Op.37
Arrangement Claudine Vellones
Anton DVORAK (1841-1904)
Slavonic Dance no. 7 opus 46
Arrangement Isabelle Marie
Pearl CHERTOK (1908-1980)
Around the Clock Suite
Arrangement Chantal Mathieu
Ten past two
Beige Nocturne
Harpicide at Midnight
The Morning after
Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Transcription Clifford Wooldridge
Mily BALAKIREV (1837-1910)
Transcription Dimitri Chostakovitch
Marie-Auguste DURAND
Transcription Nathalie Chatelain
Bernard SCHULE (1909-1996)
Diptychon Opus 183 (1995)
Dedicated to Quatuor Harpege
Allegro / Vivo
Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706)

CD Notes & Credits

Photo: Quatuor HarpegeQuatuor Harpege

Founded twelve years ago (written in 2001) by four prize-winning harpists from the class of Chantal Mathieu at the Lausanne Academy the Harpege quartet is gradually developing a repertoire for this unusual and sensitive group of musicians.

The mechanical complexity of the instrument added to its natural resonance does not make the task demanded of composers and transcribers an easy one. For example, all harps have the same range and so a score written for a string quartet cannot be applied to them. The melody circulates from harp to harp which in itself demands homogeneity on the part of the instrumentalists.

The Harpege Quartet performs regularly in Europe. It received and accepted an invitation to the 1999 World Harp Congress in Prague and its four musicians pursue individual careers. This is the second CD that the quartet has made with the hope of enlarging the repertoire of this rare group of musicians.

Programme notes

Piotr-Illitch TCHAIKOWSKY (1840-1893) Extracts from “The Nutcracker” Suite

March, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Arab dance, Dance of the Toy Soldiers, Trepak. The work of Tchaikowsky is immense, rich and varied: dramatic music, orchestral music, chamber and keyboard music and vocal music.

He was greatly inspired by the folklore of his homeland. He adapted a Christmas story for the well-known ballet “The Nutcracker” which is made up of nine scenes. Kajetan Attl has transcribed certain of these scenes.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Anitra's Dance

A Norwegian composer who was inspired by the legends of his homeland. “Anitra’s Dance” is an extract from the “Peer Gynt” suite, a lyrical and satirical drama after the play by Henrik Ibsen (1867).

Ibsen first wrote a “dramatic poem” that he then adapted for the theatre and for which he asked Grieg to compose the music.

Grieg’s incidental music to Ibsens “Peer Gynt” includes two suites; “Anitras Dance” is the third piece in the first suite. Claudine Vellones has transcribed it for the quartet.

Anton DVORAK (1841-1904) Slavonic Dance no. 7 opus 46

Born in Prague, Anton Dvorak played an important part in the revival of the symphony when he wrote his famous “Symphony from the New World” (1843).

He was a close friend of Brahms and they worked together The first version of the eight Slavonic Dances opus 46 was written as a duet for the piano. Dvorak orchestrated them himself.

The transcription for the Harpege Quartet is by Isabelle Marie.

Pearl CHERTOK (1908-1980) Around the Clock Suite

This American harpist is little known to the general public in spite of the fact that she inspired many contemporary composers. She enables us to discover the harp in unusual ways particularly with special effects made up of glissades and fingernails and also by swinging the instrument itself.

Chantal Mathieu has transcribed this piece for the harp especially for the Harpege Quartet.

Here are the original texts that accompany the suite ‘Around the Clock”

Ten past two

Early afternoon and you walk along the avenue. You look in the shop windows and are fascinated by the glitter and the new styles. You stop at one windows and a gown - shimmering with sequins - makes you tingle with delight.

Then you walk again - taking in the displays made lust for you.

Beige nocturne

Evening. You are at your vanity - choosing your perfume from the array of bottles - There is a faint suggestion of a waltz but only for a fleeting instant. The beige melody brings you back to the fragrance of the evening mood.

Harpicide at Midnight

The dance begins and the rhythm grows more and more insistent. The melody is lost and finally there is only the pulse of dancing feet.

The Morning after

The alarm clock. You stretch and wish it could be ignored. Then you see the sun striking through the windows and the day begins in clear melody.

Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) March

A Russian composer famous for his piano concertos, his charming tale for children, “Peter and the Wolf” and the music for the film ‘Alexander Newsky” by Eisenstein. This march is taken from the opera “The Love for Three Oranges” (1919), after Gozzi. The transcription is by Clifford Wooldridge.

Mily BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Polka

Born in Saint Petersburg, Balaki rev founded the “Group of Five ", Russian composers of the second half of the nineteenth century. An academic, President of the Russian Musical Society, he was greatly inspired by Russian national folklore. He is more particularly known for his symphonic poems ("Thamar", “Islamey”).

Dmitri Chostakovitch transcribed this orchestral passage.

Marie-Auguste DURAND (1830-1909) Chaconne

French pianist and composer who was at the origin of the publishing house Durand, which in turn was brought to Paris by her son Jacques Durand. Chaconne is a suite of variations on a theme, which unfolds, in the bass part. Nathalie Chatelain has written the transcription.

Bernard SCHULE (1909-1996) Diptychon Opus 183

Born in Zurich, Bernard Schule lived for a long time in Paris where he worked with Alfred Cortot and Nadia Boulanger and he taught at the Ecole Normale. He then became organist at the St Clotilde Basilica until 1945, a post which had been previously occupied by Cesar Franck. He composed several works for the harp, which include a concerto and a solo “Music for an lmaginary Film”. As well as symphonic works like the “Serenade", “Concert Music", and “ Valaisan Suite’ he wrote music for films. The “Diptychon” for 4 harps was especially written for the Harpege Quartet and was created in the presence of the composer in 1995.

Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706) Canon

German composer organist at Eisenach before iS. Bach and a contemporary of Telemann. This very well known canon composed by Pachelbel has been transcribed for every instrument. The transcription that is played here is by Sylvia Woods.


Enregistrement realise en mars 2001 Ia Chapelle de Veyrier (Geneve)
Ingenieur du son / Sound engineer: Jean-Daniel NOIR, Nyon
Graphisme: Blaise-Alain CART, Geneve
Photo de Couverture: Michel GAUDARD
© Bac Art 2001 / Fabrique et imprime en Suisse

Commentaires / Commentary: Claudine Vellones, Isabelle Martin-Achard Mollet
Traductions / Translations: Elizabeth Meuret
Photos: Jean-Paul Leve


Album Information

Title:     Quatuor Harpege Volume 2
Artists: Quatuor Harpege
Instruments:     Four Harps
Genre: Classical
Format: CD
Our Ref: A0054
MCPS: QHEH-030102
Label: Bac Art
Year: 2001
Origin: Switzerland

Artist Information & Contact Details

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