Budapest String Quartet
& Marcel Grandjany, harp
1997: Bridge Records 9077
George Frideric Handel (16851759)
Concerto for Harp and Strings, Op. 4, No. 6
Daniel Gregory Mason (18731953)
String Quartet on Negro Themes, Op. 19
Claude Debussy (18621918)
Charles Tomlinson Griffes (18841920)
Two Sketches based on Indian Themes
Antonin Dvořák (18411904)
These recordings are mostly from 19411943, the last two being from the end of the 40s, and overall the recording quality is pretty poor. I bought this CD because Ive been hunting for recordings featuring the French harpist Marcel Grandjany, as I had grown up listening to very limited-issue LP of him playing his own works as well as some harp classics and have never found the like on CD. This still astonishes me, because not only was it a good album on its own, his suite The Childrens Hour really is lovely, and I find it baffling that so few have recorded it since he did (and moreover that that recording of him playing it himself remains a vinyl-only gem).
The only other thing I particularly feel I should mention about this album is that the closing track, Dinah, is a wacky European-string-quartet recasting of American folk songs. What it immediately reminded me of, on first hearing, was a similar treat which Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares used to close their American tour in the early 1990s: a Le-Mystère-ing of Oh, Suzannah! that was both delightful and electrifying (the latter because they took a song pretty much everyone in the audience knew as well as Mother Goose rhymes and demonstrated, with a more familiar starting point, what they had been doing with their own folk songs all night). I dont think this was ever issued on any albums, but I know that somewhere in my cassettes I have a copy of it as they performed it (to great audience response) on The Tonight Show.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.