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VIV 709


Luther Cantata
By Barbara Harbach
VIV 709 $6.95

Barbara Harbach's arrangements follow the centuries-old practice of invigorating traditional melodies with contemporary harmonizations and rhythms. Pachelbel and Back, Reger and Karg-Elert, and countless others have creatively reworked these well-known hymns of Martin Luther. Part I is an exuberant arrangement of the original rhythmic melody Ein Feste Burg; it features a counterpoint enunciation of each theme and a lively middle section before the echoes of the familiar theme herald the end of the first movement. Part II is a newly harmonized four-part chorale on the tune Aus Tiefer Not. This moves immediately to "From Deepest Depths I Cry to You," the baritone (or alto) solo written on the same melody. This solo (Part III) creates a mood of quiet introspection with its recurrent plaintive cry. Part IV, "Christ, the New Contender," is a powerful and lively setting of the second verse of Ein Feste Burg which announces Christ as our triumphant advocate. Part V, a chorale based on Vater Unser, introduces the soprano or alto solo "Our Father, Lord of Sea and Sky." This famous prayer (Part VI) provides a meditative respite before the climactic final movement. Part VII marks the return of Luther's exhilarating hymn - this time the more familiar hymn tune. "Ein Feste Finale" features a moving accompaniment and contemporary harmonizations, but it retains the famous melody in the soprano line, enabling audiences to participate if they choose.

Click here to view a page of the score of Part I, Our God is Like a Fortress Strong (chorus)

Part II, Chorrale on Aust Tiefer Not (chorale)

Click here to view a page of the score of Part III, From Deepest Depths I Cry to You (baritone or alto solo)

Click here to view a page of the score of Part IV, Christ, the New Contender (chorus)

Part V, Chorale on Vater Unser (chorale)

Click here to view a page of the score of Part VI, Our Father, Lord of Sea and Sky (soprano or alto solo)

Click here to view a page of the score of Part VII, Ein Feste Finale

A Brief Bio of the Composer

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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