Haydn and the Harp

Chiara Granata harps, Raffaele Pe countertenor, Anaïs Chen violin, Marco Ceccato cello
Glossa GCD 923517
Music by Bochsa, Eloüis, Sophia Dussek, Haydn, Kozeluh, Anne-Marie & Jean-Baptiste Krumpholtz, de La Manière & Ragué

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This CD is a genuine eye-opener. We tend to ignore the instruction ‘for piano or harp’ in the published versions of Haydn’s arrangements of British folk songs, but Chiara Granata has taken it literally and presents here a selection of music by Haydn and his contemporaries. Using two lovely restored harps of 1790 and 1825, she is joined by countertenor Raffaele Pe, violinist Anaïs Chen and cellist Marco Ceccato for these delightful accounts of songs and chamber works. The Haydn songs are beautifully sung by falsettist Raffaele Pe, while particularly intriguing amongst the music by Haydn’s contemporaries, mainly reworkings of the master’s music, are Louis-Charles Ragué’s arrangement for violin and harp of Haydn’s 71st Symphony and Nicolas-Charles Bochsa’s extraordinary medley for harp of melodies from The Creation. From his earliest days at Esterhazy to his late visits to London, Haydn had regular and close contact with amateur and professional harpists, and it seems natural that he would want his compositions to be available for them to perform. In fact, having heard these evocative performances, Haydn’s concise and sparkling idiom seems to lend itself very well to the tone of the harp, and Chiara Granata’s admirable project seems long overdue. Her discovery of the complementary music by Krumpholtz (Jean-Baptiste and Anne-Marie), Kozeluh, Louis-Charles Ragué, Bochsa, Joseph Eloüis, Exupère de La Maniere and Sophia Dussek is a revelation, and the entire programme is wonderfully evocative. The very musical playing and singing of the ensemble make them the ideal advocates for this neglected area of classical music, and the light they shine on it is a revelatory and valuable one.

D. James Ross

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