Paul Vanderwerff, violin and Erin Freund, harp
All transcriptions are by Erin Freund and sheet music will be available soon for purchase through this siteaA
From the CD liner notes:
Violin and harp is a wonderful combination of instruments for chamber music, with timbres and registers that can simultaneously complement and contrast. However, aside from a few great works like Saint-Saëns’ Fantaisie, the body of work for harp and violin is surprisingly small, especially when
compared to the breadth of flute and harp repertoire. All of the works on this album are Romantic pieces newly arranged for harp and violin, arranged from soprano and piano arias or violin and piano concert pieces. They are an offering to student and professional harpists and violinists to establish a more vibrant repertoire.
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was an Italian composer known for his eclectic and colorful works. His
Six Pieces for Violin and Piano were written between 1901 and 1905. Each movement was written in its
own context, and they were only later grouped together for publication.
The opening Berceuse was an unpublished work for string ensemble from 1902. While the violin
melody soars in both versions, the piano takes over the rippling string accompaniment in the later
Six Pieces version. The sweet and lilting Melodia is unique in the collection, in that it was the only
one originally written for violin and piano. Leggenda is a dark and introspective work that began as a
work for violin and orchestra in 1902, but was rescored for violin and piano to be the third of the Six
Pieces. Valse Caressante began as a piano solo and was the first work in Respighi’s Six Pieces for piano
solo (1903-1905). It was transposed from the key of E-flat major to D major when it was arranged for
violin and piano duet. Serenata is the shortest of the six pieces, and its melody comes from Respighi’s
1905 opera Re Enzo (King Enzo). The closing Aria is based on a composition for strings and organ that
Respighi composed while taking composition lessons with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in St. Petersburg.
Composizioni da Camera is a collection of fifteen simple and tuneful Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)
works for voice and piano. These works were likely composed in the 1820s when Bellini was young,
but remained unpublished until 1935, which was the centenary of his death. Malincolia, Ninfa gentile
(Melancholy, Gentle Nymph) is an arietta from the collection. This particular text is an emotional one
from the point of view of someone surrendering to sadness.
Ma rendi pur contento is the final song in the Composizioni da Camera, and is beautiful in its understatement
and simplicity. The text is by the prominent Italian poet and librettist Pietro Metastasio, and
declares that his lover’s happiness is more important to him than his own.
L’abbandono (The abandonment) is a romanza, also from Composizioni da Camera. The opening text
describes a breeze, evoked by the cadenza-like arpeggios in the introduction’s accompaniment. The
body of this solo is a fiery allegro, complementing an angst-filled text of unrequited love.
Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848) was the leading Italian opera composer in the first half of the 19th
century. His Amore e morte (Love and Death, 1837) is an arietta from Soirées d’automne à l’Infrascata,
a collection of four songs and two duets. The text is a message to his love, Elvira, on his death bed.
Donizetti’s Le crépuscule (The Twilight) is based on a poem by Victor Hugo. It is told from the point
of view of a man calling a woman to pay attention to his love, with a recurring image of knocking on
Paolo Tosti (1846-1916) was an Italian song composer. La Serenata (Serenade) was published in
1888, and the text by librettist Giovanni Alfredo Cesareo features a lover’s words to the window of his
beloved, propelled by strong arpeggiated figures in the accompaniment. Sogno (Dream) is a tender
song with a text by Lorenzo Stecchetti of a beautiful dream of a lover.
La Sérénité (Serenity, 1893) was composed by French composer and pianist Camille Saint-Saëns
(1835-1921). The original work features a beautiful text by Marie Barbier about a peaceful eternity.
The music echoes this sentiment, with the unusual musical indication “Assez lent, très calme, sans
nuances” (fairly slow, very calm, without nuance).
Jules Massenet (1842-1912) was a French composer, today famous for his Méditation for solo violin
from his 1894 opera Thaïs (frequently performed as a violin and harp duet). Souvenez-Vous, Vierge
Marie (Remember, Virgin Mary) features a prayer written by Georges Boyer that asks for pity and
grace. It was originally written for chorus, soloist, organ, and orchestra in 1880, and later arranged for
voice and piano or organ. Les Âmes (The Souls, 1898) is set to a text by Paul Demouth that contemplates
the souls that are in the eyes of flames. The accompaniment supports the imagery with sparkling
and dancing arpeggios. La Rivière (The River, 1900) features a text by Camille Bruno about a singing
river that is beautifully supported by an evocative and rich flowing accompaniment.