> Carlos Salzedo Songs in the Night [JW]: Classical CD Reviews- Nov 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Carlos SALZEDO (1885-1961)
Songs in the Night. Concert Fantasies, arrangements and original works

Believe me, if all those Endearing Young Charms
Jolly Piper Concert Fantasy on the Theme of The Sailor’s hornpipe
Londonderry Air
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Minuet d’amour from Therese
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) The Harmonious Blacksmith, Air and Variations
Ombra Mi Fui
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Spring Song from Songs without words
Traipsin’ thru Arkansaw Concert Fantasy on the theme of the Arkansas Traveller
Annie Laurie
Deep River
Dixie Parade Concert Fantasy on the theme of Dixie
My old Kentucky Home
Turkey Strut Concert Fantasy on the theme of Turkey in the straw
The Last Rose of Summer
Carlos SALZEDO (1885-1961) Song in the Night; La Désirade
Agustin LARA (1900-1969) Concert Fantasy on Granada
Antonin DVORÁK (1841-1904) Humoresque Op 101 No 7
Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Paraphrase on the Second Hungarian Rhapsody
Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894) Melody in F Op 3
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1898) Waltz Op 35 No 15; Lullaby Op 49 No 4
Alice Giles, harp
Recorded May 1999 St Scholastica’s Chapel, Glebe, Australia
ARTWORKS AW025 [68.48]

Rummage amongst old piles of 78s and you’ll eventually come across a famous coupling on a 10" Columbia sketchily titled Prayer and the Angel’s Serenade and played by the French harp virtuoso Carlos Salzedo. Like his Parisian born contemporary, the six years younger Marcel Grandjany, Salzedo was to spend much of his working life in America though Salzedo came to New York much earlier than his illustrious counterpart. Grandjany was later to settle there and taught at Juilliard from 1938-75 and Salzedo taught at Curtis from its inception, the two men together instilling a strong and decisive French tradition in American harp playing.

Compositionally Salzedo was a sophisticated and cosmopolitan impressionist. Like Ravel he was born in the Basque region and absorbed some of Ravel’s influence as well as managing to expand the harp’s potential for colour and technique – and he wrote noted technical treatises in which he promulgated his method. But there were other ways in which a virtuoso harpist could make his mark and one of them was the Concert Fantasy in which pot pourri could spice a recital either in concert or on radio, where Salzedo was always exceptionally popular (there’s a double CD available entitled Salzedo On Air which published radio transcriptions from the 1930s and some of his other performances are available on the Marquis label). In addition to the Fantasies, this disc collects his arrangements – predominately Scottish and Irish ballads, Americana, popular songs - and own compositions.

Alice Giles, the exceptionally nimble and glitteringly convincing soloist, is no stranger to Salzedo as she has recorded his Suite of Dances, amongst other things, on Koch Schwann 312232. Here she brings all her agility to a recital of delightful breadth and charm. The Jolly Piper is a delicious confection based on the Sailor’s Hornpipe, full of witty accents and displacements, wandering into subversive keys and wrapped up with decisive technical flourishes. The Londonderry Air, rippling and affectionate, contrasts with Massenet’s Minuet d’amour, full of romantic amplitude. Handel’s The Harmonious Blacksmith, a Salzedo favourite, is full of elfin decoration, bringing out the harmonic implications of the music – by discreet key changes - with unforced delicacy. The evocative Americana of Traipsin’ thru Arkansaw is subjected to some wicked narrative dislocations; Deep River bathed in dignity and the Turkey Strut glitters but doesn’t preen. Salzedo’s own Song in the Night is a fabulous mood-changing virtuosic slice of impressionism with some technical surprises – wood knocking amongst them – and infectious dance rhythms. La Désirade with its astonishing pedal slides begins rather gruffly, with saturnine wood knocking, but grows in amplitude and feeling. The Agustin Lara Granada Fantasy is full of high spirits and affectionate filigree and both Salzedo and Alice Giles dig into Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody.

I’ve not heard of the Artworks label before but if this nourishing and delightfully recorded and produced disc is anything to go by it’s a winner, right down to the artwork, a luxurious and promisingly decadent Gulnare of the Sea by Maxfield Parish.

Jonathan Woolf



Artworks Recorded Music
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phone: 61(02) 97438990
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