Works for Organ
Padre Antonio Soler (1729-1783) wrote over 120 keyboard sonatas as well as six organ concertos. These are a few of his most popular sonatas, arranged for organ. Intento is a magnificent fugue that builds to a thrilling climax after 250 measures of glorious counterpoint. Allegro Spiritoso is a witty character piece with lots of Spanish flavor. Sonata in D-flat Major, Allegro is a favorite piece with audiences because of its fanfare-like figures, arpeggiated flourishes, and a flurry of repeated notes.
VIV 310, 40 pages, $17.95
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A Brief Bio of the Composer
Antonio Soler (1729-1783) was a Catalan composer and organist. He entered the Escorial community of Jeronymite monks in 1752, and eventually became the maestro de capilla. He is known to have studied with Jose de Nebra and Domenico Scarlatti. Scarlatti came with the royal family when they spent each autumn at El Escorial. Like Scarlatti, Soler wrote many keyboard works for his royal patrons. He wrote over 120 sonatas and six organ concertos.
Soler wrote his earlier sonatas for harpsichord and his later ones for the piano. His musical language consists of Alberti basses, phrases of irregular length, syncopations, ostinatos, dance rhythms, contrapuntal devices, and the immediate repetition of a motive. Many of his sonatas transfer well from the harpsichord or piano to the organ.
Intento or fugue is taken from Soler's three-movement Sonata in C Major, R. 66. The first movement is Andante expresivo, then Allegro assai spiritoso, and ending with the Intento. The 242 measure Intento is filled with many contrapuntal techniques building to a thrilling climax, with the cadenza suggested by the editor as a possibility. Ornaments and non-harmonic passing tones in the performance style of the eighteenth century have been added.
The Allegro spiritoso, from a four-movement sonata, becomes an exciting character piece on the organ. It is from Sonata in B flat Major, R. 62, with the movements titled, Andantino con moto, Allegretto expresivo, Minue di rivolti, and Allegro spiritoso. Added ornaments, filled-in harmonies, octave displacements, written-out repeats, and interesting registrations combine to make this piece a favorite with audiences.
Sonata in D flat Major, Allegro, R. 88 encompasses the full keyboard with triplet arpeggios, repeated notes and fanfare-like figures. This Spanish flavored two-part sonata modulates to the dominant at the end of the first half, then unexpectedly begins in F major, eventually finds F minor--the more traditional key--and returns boldly to D flat major.
A Brief Bio of the Arranger
Barbara Harbach has a large catalog of works, including symphonies, opera, string orchestra, musicals, works for chamber ensembles, film scores, modern ballets, organ, harpsichord, piano, choral anthems, and many arrangements for brass and organ of various Baroque works. She is also involved in the research, editing, publication and recording of manuscripts of eighteenth-century keyboard composers as well as historical and contemporary women composers. Her work is available in both recorded and published form through MSR Classics, Naxos Records, Gasparo Records, Kingdom Records, Albany Records, Northeastern Records, Hester Park, Robert King Music, Elkan-Vogel, Augsburg Fortress, Agape Music and Vivace Press. Harbach is also the editor of the journal, Women of Note Quarterly.
“Harbach’s music astonished me for its heavy reliance on the lyric and the beautifully (and cogently) framed melodic line. I could listen to her music for hours.” American Record Guide ~ March / April 2008. “ Harbach has distinguished herself as one of the preeminent American composers of any generation.” All Music Guide ~ December 2007.
Harbach has toured extensively as both concert organist and harpsichordist and her lively performances and recordings have captured the imagination of many American composers, and the body of work written for and dedicated to Harbach is substantial. Musical America has called her “nothing short of brilliant,” and Gramophone has cited her as an “acknowledged interpreter – and, indeed, muse – of modern harpsichord music.” She was host of the weekly television music series Palouse Performance seen throughout the Inland Northwest.
Currently professor of music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, she holds academic degrees from Pennsylvania State University (B.A.), Yale University (M.M.A.), Musikhochschule (Konzertdiplom) in Frankfurt, Germany, and the Eastman School of Music (D.M.A.). In 2002, Harbach received an honorary doctorate in music, honoris causa, from Wilmington College, Ohio for her lifetime achievement as a composer, performer, editor and publisher.
Barbara Harbach initiated Women in the Arts-St. Louis, a celebration of the achievements of women creators. The over 800 events by various cultural organizations in the St. Louis region provided audiences with new and historical examples of the work of women writers, composers and artists. In 2006 for her work Women in the Arts-St. Louis she was the recipient of the Arts Education Award from the Missouri Arts Council; the Missouri Citizen for the Arts Award; the Yellow rose Award from the Zonta International Club of St. Louis; the UM-St. Louis College of Fine Arts and Communication, Faculty Excellence Award; and in 2007 she was awarded the Hellenic Spirit Foundation Award.
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