Prachtige harpwerken van grote componisten
Edward Witsenburg, internationaal erkend als één van de beste harpspelers van zijn tijd, begon zijn studie bij Phia Berghout toen hij nog zeven jaar oud was. Nadat hij zijn school had afgemaakt, studeerde hij cum laude af aan het conservatorium van Amsterdam met enkele prijzen. Hij begon zijn carrière als solo harpist in verschillende orkesten maar verliet het spelen in orkesten in 1965 om zichzelf compleet toe te wijden aan zijn solocarrière, kamermuziek en lesgeven. Edward Witsenburg treedt overal ter wereld op en is de trotse eigenaar van een grote collectie harpen van de middeleeuwen tot aan de hedendaagse tijd en hij geeft regelmatig recitals waarin hij deze instrumenten demonstreert. Vanaf1967 gaf hij jaarlijkse master classes in Wales en was hij docent harp aan het Koninklijke Conservatorium in Den Haag en aan het Mozarteum in Salzburg. Op dit album brengt hij prachtige harpwerken ten gehore van de componisten Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Händel, John Parry, Louis Spohr, Marcel Grandjany, Paul Hindemith, Marius Flothuis en Gabriel Fauré.
Georg Frideric Handel was a composer from the Baroque period. Handel wrote primarily music-dramatic works: 42 operas, 29 oratorios, more than 120 cantatas, trios and duets, which comes to a total amount of almost 2000 arias! Furthermore, he composed English, Italian and Latin sacred music, serenades and odes. Among his instrumental music are several organ concertos, concerti grossi, overtures, oboe sonatas and violinsonates, along with many solo works for harpsichord and organ.
Together with Johann Sebastian Bach, who was born in the same year (1685), Handel is viewed as one of the greatest composers of his time. He was extremely prolific and wrote in total more than 610 works, many of which are still performed today.
Compared to his contemporaries Bach, Telemann and Scarlatti, Handel was by far the most cosmopolitan. When Handel was a child, his father, who was a surgeon at the court of Saxe-Weissenfels, imagined a juridical career for him. But his musical talents did not go unnoticed at the court, which forced the father to let him study music. In Hamburg, Handel befriended Mattheson. Together they visited Buxtehude, the greatest organ player of his time, in 1703 (two years before Bach did). At that time, Handel was already an excellent musician, but it wasn't until his stay in Italy - the land of opera - that his talents and skills truly started to flourish. Back in Germany, he received a position at the court of Hannover, where the noblemen had a connection to the British throne. Thanks to these connections, Handel decided to move to London, after which a puzzling history of intrigues and political games started. For example, it is unclear what the exact political message of his famous Water Music is, which was composed for a boat ride on the river Thames by King George. Initially, Handel focused on Italian opera during his stay in London, but from the 1730s onwards he started composing English spoken oratorios, with the celebrated Messiah at its peak.
Louis Spohr was a German composer, violinist and conductor. Highly regarded during his lifetime, Spohr composed ten symphonies, ten operas, eighteen violin concerti, four clarinet concerti, four oratorios and various works for small ensemble, chamber music and art songs.
Spohr was the inventor of both the violin chinrest and the orchestral rehearsal mark. His output occupies a pivotal position between Classicism and Romanticism, but fell into obscurity following his death, when his music was rarely heard. The late 20th century saw a revival of interest in his oeuvre, especially in Europe.
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.
Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.
Paul Hindemith studied violin at the Dr Hoch's Konservatorium of Frankfurt and played from 1915 to 1923 in the Frankfurt opera. From 1921 to 1929 he played viola in the Amar Quarter, where he was advocate for contemporary music. Throughout the years, he held multiple positions as teachers, but he remained most popular as a violist. During the Second Worldwar he fleed to the USA and was given the American nationality in 1948, Later, he returned to Europe to teach at the university of Zürich.
His use rhythm, called "Motorik" by himself (a combination of Motor and Musik) is piercing, and at times even tormenting. It echoes the arrival of industralisation and the motor, as Hindemith opposes any form of sentimentality, psychology or personality. This way, Hinemith created shrill, neoclassicistic music (Gebrauchsmusik, music with a social or political aim). His body of works is quite extensive, with more than 100 compositions in all kinds of genres. Even though he was an advocate of contemporary music, he never felt affiliated with dodecaphony. He wrote several theoretic treatises, among which his Unterweisung im Tonsatz from 1937 in which Hindemith offers several systems in which the tension between intervals, harmony and melody is analysed and elevated into a compositional technique.