The School of Harp in France Vol.4 | Harp & Co CD505038

The School of Harp in France Vol.4


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Label: Harp & Co

Cat No: CD505038

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 29th April 2016



The reasons for which Johann David Hermann (c.1760-1846), pianist and composer of presumably Germanic origin, moved to Paris around 1785, are not known. Yet, he found in France the protectors who allowed him to compose for the piano and the harp. It is also known that he was Marie-Antoinette’s pianoforte teacher and, as such, he played an important and official role in the musical life of the Court at the end of the reign of Louis XVI. As with all foreign musicians aspiring to make themselves known in France, his long career began by achieving great success at the Concert Spirituel in the Tuileries Palace of Paris. In 1786, where he brilliantly interpreted his first Concerto for pianoforte. Unlike in the romantic period, the concerto form at the end of the 18th century reflects the spirit of chamber music as much as it echoes the character of orchestral music. It can thus be performed by a limited ensemble of a harp accompanied by a string quartet (violins, viola and cello) without adding wind instruments. Both concertos recorded here are written in two movements – Allegro and Rondo. The score is characterized by simplicity and elegance of the melodic line, sometimes relaxed rhythmically. A certain stylistic kinship with the music of Mozart can be discerned, as the latter had recently arrived to Paris and Hermann had very probably had the opportunity of hearing his works, in 1786, at the Concert Spirituel.

Son of Charles-Gabriel Foignet (1750-1823), who was a teacher of harp, harpsichord, music theory and singing in Paris, Gabriel Foignet was born in this city in 1790. His was a successful concert career as a harp player and an important teacher of harp, especially between 1812 and 1825. He was well recognized for his talent amongst the harp composers of his time.The nomenclature for sonatas of the period mentions the harp before the violin. Nevertheless, the balance between both instruments is respected and they are treated in an equal manner.

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