Budapest String Quartet
& Marcel Grandjany, harp

1997: Bridge Records 9077

    George Frideric Handel (1685–1759)
    Concerto for Harp and Strings, Op. 4, No. 6

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Larghetto
  3. Cadenza by Marcel Grandjany
  4. Allegro moderato

    Daniel Gregory Mason (1873–1953)
    String Quartet on Negro Themes, Op. 19

  5. Allegro commodo, ma con spirito
  6. Larghetto tranquillo
    Allegro scherzoso
    Tempo I
  7. Allegro moderato, drammatico
    Allegro vivace

    Claude Debussy (1862–1918)

  8. Danse sacrée et danse profane

    Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884–1920)
    Two Sketches based on Indian Themes

  9. Lento e mesto
  10. Allegro giocoso

    Antonin Dvořák (1841–1904)

  11. Lento


  12. Dinah (arr. unknown)

These recordings are mostly from 1941–1943, the last two being from the end of the ’40s, and overall the recording quality is pretty poor. I bought this CD because I’ve 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 Children’s 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 don’t 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.