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Cat. No. CHAN 10194(3) X Price: £14 No. of discs: 3
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CHAN 10194 - Harty: Complete Orchestral Works
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Available From: 05 April 2004
Harty was taught music in Ireland by his father and held down various organist’s posts there until 1901 when he moved to London. He soon became known as a promising composer and an outstanding accompanist. In the following years he gained great success with his compositions, whilst establishing himself as a conductor, through his associations with the London Symphony and Hallé orchestras. Renowned for his mercurial and witty personality, Harty introduced many new composers and works to the concert hall: the music of Bax, Sibelius, Casella, Berlioz, Moeran, Walton and Strauss featured prominently in his programmes. He conducted many great premieres including that of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony and Das Lied von der Erde. He was knighted in 1925.

Many of Harty’s works have a strong Irish flavour through use of Irish tunes or the idioms of folk music, as in An Irish Symphony. Links to the country of Harty’s birth are also apparent in his use of ‘programmes’ based on historical or legendary events, as in With the Wild Geese, a tone poem based on the story of the Irish regiments who fought for the French in the battle of Fontenoy (1745), or The Children of Lir, based on the Irish legend of the four children of King Lir who were turned into white swans by a jealous stepmother.

Harty was one of the most eminent conductors of his day and the quality of his composition, and particularly his orchestration, is universally acknowledged. It is therefore puzzling that Harty’s romantic, richly evocative music is not better represented in the catalogue. It is hoped that these recordings will go some way towards redressing the balance.
Reviews

"...The performances are excellent, and thev ery appealing Variations on a Dublin Air and Harty’s arrangement of the haunting Londonderry Air have bee added as a most enjoyable bonus on this CD."
The Penguin Guide – 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

 

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