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MP3 Dale Harris - Reverie On a Hill

Reverie On A Hill by Classical-Spanish & acoustic guitarist Dale Harris that especially features world premiere transcriptions of Schumann''s Kinderszenen op.15, Wagner''s Tristan And Isolde and works by Bach, Giuliani, Handel, Harris and Vivaldi.

22 MP3 Songs in this album (73:44) !
Related styles: CLASSICAL: Chamber Music, EASY LISTENING: Mood Music

People who are interested in Richard Wagner Robert Schumann Andrés Segovia should consider this download.

The Italian Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) is a key figure in virtuoso guitarist-composers. Of the 200+ works he composed (including sonata’s, variations on popular themes, and some of the most important studies that poses a stiff challenge for guitarists of all levels) are usually found to be in a very ‘Italian’ and popular operatic style. Giuliani’s Variations On A Theme By Handel is based on the familiar Air from the 5th suite for keyboard by Georg Handel (AKA The Harmonius Blacksmith written in 1720 from the 5th Suite for Harpsichord). The work has the feeling of a mini-sonata: the first four variations gather momentum (an extended ‘fast’ movement), followed by subdued ‘slow’ fifth variation and then a ‘fast’ section finale and coda.

It is not very often that the astonishing music written by the dramatist Richard Wagner (1813-83) is heard on the guitar. The present arrangement of Tristan und Isolde heralds a world premiere. Completed in August 1859, Tristan marks the beginning of a new musical language by Wagner; thus, he delayed composing Siegfried, the third installment of The Ring Cycle to complete Tristan. Wagner’s strained finances was also a contributory factor to his change of mind. Originally composed for orchestra, this arrangement captures Wagnerian harmony at its best before he stretched ‘chromaticism’ (where wandering and yearning are represented by constant appoggiaturas resulting in obfuscation of diatonic key) to the limit in the fourth part of The Ring’s Gotterdammerung. The Act I Prelude is in the original key of A minor or C minor! That is, many scholars dispute the definition of tonal areas in this work: Arnold Schoenberg even went as far to say it might as well be in the key of E flat minor!

Here, the story begins on Tristan’s ship bound for Cornwall, where he transports the Irish princess Isolde to England so that she may wed Tristan’s Uncle King Marke. However, Tristan has fallen in love with Isolde. The Act III Prelude is transcribed a semi-tone lower in the key of E minor. In this movement, the violins descend up a scale into the stratosphere via artificial harmonics. Act III represents Tristan in his darkest and most desperate moment. After a duel with his friend Melot over an act of betrayal of trust, Tristan lays wounded and nearing his death. His mind is on his love Isolde, whom he waits so that they can reunite and so that she can heal him. He eventually dies in her arms.

The motto theme in Cryptogram by Dale Harris is based on musical ‘cipher’. The melodic palette that consequently arises suggests altered-jazz synthetic. Cryptograms have also featured in J.S. Bach (B-A-C-H), Schumann (A-B-E-E-G), and Alban Berg (A-D-S-C-H-B-E-G / A-E-B-E / A-B-A-B-E-G) for example.

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) composed many sonatas for the harpsichord. There is a definite Spanish and consequently ‘guitaristic’ undertone running through much of his music; he lived in Madrid from 1729 and remained there until 1754 shortly before his death. His single-movement Sonata’s foreshadow classical Sonata form and contain many essential ingredients in miniature (e.g. multiple themes, development, recapitulation and coda). The present Sonata in E major transcribes easily to the guitar with little adjustment needed; this approach throws up some interesting problems, e.g., the portion halfway through the B section where a particular passage requires some unusual finger placements and stretches spanning the higher sections of the fretboard.

Robert Schumann’s (1810-56) Kinderszenen, Op.15 (Childhood Scenes For Piano) is a wonderful collection of poetic miniatures that enthusiastically depicts various stages of childhood. The works brilliantly capture a variety of moods from joy to sadness, slumber to tantrums, games (e.g. playing ‘tag’) and memorable family moments such as sitting round the fireplace. In this case, considerable adjustments are needed to adapt the work to the guitar. However, the mood is the most important element in this work and every effort has been made to adhere to the piano original where possible.

German born Georg Friederich Handel (1685-1759) lived in England from 1726. Handel worked for Queen Anne and he later wrote Zadok The Priest for the coronation of King George II. He produced numerous operas, church music and chamber works. Handel’s instrumental sonatas display incredible invention, nobility and expression and his Sarabande in D minor from the 11th Suite For Keyboard is a salient example of this.

The popular Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) wrote a vast number of works. Vivaldi was a violinist, and as such he possessed an innate feel for stringed instruments, and the string section of the orchestra is often favoured, thus dominating works such as The Four Seasons. He also wrote concerti for mandolin in both solo and duet settings. His Andante RV.532 from Concerto For Two Mandolins displays Vivaldi at his most melodic and sensitive.

Like Vivaldi, the great German Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) left a vast musical legacy. His Prelude BWV.846 from the Prelude and Fugue No.1 in C major is the first in a set of Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (The Well-tempered or Evenly-tuned Keyboard). Thus, for the first time, a musical ‘set’ can be enjoyed in a variety of major and minor keys without the need for retuning of the instrument. Before the onset of even-temperament, tuning systems were biased towards certain keys and therefore hierarchical tonal relationships. The Prelude BWV.846 formed the basis for Charles Gounod’s angelic Ave Maria.

The Austrian Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) is rightly regarded as a musical genius. In his short life he wrote many masterpieces including concerti, symphonies, chamber music and songs. He started to learn the keyboards at age 3 and began composing at age 5. The Andante K.330 from his Piano Sonata in C Major, 2nd Movement demonstrates the sensitive Mozart; graceful and melodic.

Although Reverie On A Hill was recorded at the same location as Espiritu De La Guitarra, I have since built a recording facility complete with an isolated recording room in order to faithfully capture the sound of my guitar in a desirable acoustic setting. Thanks to Headley Lutterlock, Larry Lucas & George H. for their kind help with the building process. I am indebted to Greham Waller for providing space for the recording studio.

Dale Harris was born in West London in 1968. He began playing the guitar at the age of four and gave his first solo public performance at age 7. He was initially taught by his father, and began formal classical lessons in 1981. His formal musical education includes a first class B.A.(Hon) degree, an M.A. in music performance, and in 2004, Dale successfully completed a PhD entitled ''Cryptograms In The Music Of Alban Berg''. In 1998, Dale won ''The Larissa Lovelock Memorial Prize'' for classical guitar performance. Dale has studied the classical guitar with Grahame Klippel and Jeff Alexander and in master-classes with John Mills, Richard Durrant and John Myhill. Dale has performed for H.R.H. Prince Phillip The Duke Of Edinburgh and the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey.

Special thanks to Stephen Hill for his wonderful guitar. Thanks also to all at CD Baby; Charles Bowyer; Clare at Classical Associates; Kieron Garrett; George, Sheila & Lucia Harris; Paul Tucker; Mike Twisse, and to all my students for their kind support.

DALE HARRIS: London, August 2008.

Front cover photo copyright c.2008 Dale Harris
Rear cover photo copyright c.2008 Dale Harris
For help with photography, special thanks to Jez Henderson for graphic effects, colour reproduction and editing.

This CD was recorded and produced entirely in the digital domain and was captured using 24-bit, 96 kHz wave-mapping technology.

A music score of the material in Reverie On A Hill will be available soon. See https://www.tradebit.com for details.
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