Recorded in 1996, A Harp Recital is Josh Layne’s first CD. It features a mix of music from many periods, including two Spanish pieces, and the ever popular Moldau (in a marvelous arrangement for solo harp by Hans Trnecek).
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
from Violin Sonata No. 1
trans. Grandjany 5:38
Variationen sur l’air
“Je suis encore dans mon printemps” 5:53
Spanish Dance No. 5 “Andulaz”
arr. Josh Layne 3:40
Spanish Dance No.1 from
the opera “La Vida Breve”
trans. Grandjany 3:40
Vers la Source dans le Bois 3:33
C.P.E. Bach (1714-1788)
Sonata in G Major
Adagio un Poco 5:52
I – a la francais 4:30
II – a l’espagnole 5:10
trans. Trnecek 10:58
Total playing time 60:34
CD liner notes from A Harp Recital
“Marcel Grandjany was one of the most influential harpists of this century. An incredible musician, he also won recognition as a composer. As well as his original compositions, he transposed numerous pieces for the harp, two of which are on this recording.
Louis Spohr based his Variationen on a theme by opera composer E.N. Mehul that roughly translated means I am once again in my springtime. The piece starts with the theme, is followed by four variations, and ends with a Rondo. Spohr, who in his time was famous as a composer and violinist, became interested in the harp due to his marriage to harp virtuoso Dorette Schienler. The toured across Europe together. For their concerts, Spohr composed a number of pieces for harp and violin, as well as for solo harp.
Marcel Tournier was a French harpist and composer whose work has a very distinctive sound. I used this piece as an encore when I performed this recital.
C.P.E. Bach’s Sonata for Harp is one of the few works of his period (1714-1788) that was written specifically for the harp. I have used Jane B. Weidensaul’s scholarly-performance edition, completed in 1979, which among other things correctly places the slow movement first, unlike earlier versions which had the adagio second for a more familiar fast, slow, fast format.
In the second of his two Divertissements (l’espagnole) Andre Caplet employs an interesting effect called a pedal slide. To play a pedal slide, one plays a string and then uses the pedal controlling the string to either release or shorten the string, so that it is now vibrating at a different frequency. Pedal slides are more effective the lower down the harp one goes. For example, l’espagnole starts by playing the first, second, third, and fourth E below middle C, with the E pedal set in natural, and then releasing the pedal to E flat, creating a very dramatic opening.
The last piece on this recording, Hans Trnecek’s transcription of Smetana’s The Moldau, is a particular favorite of mine. The Moldau is the second of six movements from Smetana’s cycle of symphonic poems, Ma Vlast (My Father land). Written towards the end of the 1860’s, it celebrates the Czech national heritage. The Moldau describes the river Moldau as it flows from two sources through forests and across meadows towards Prague, past the Vyshrad and out into the Elbe.”