Composers: Falla, Bissill, List, Paterson, Ortiz
Performers: Chicago Harp Quartet
Catalogue Number: chicagoharpquartet.com 79857651242
The Chicago Harp Quartet’s members are passionate about the place its unusual ensemble holds in the chamber music world. They are determined to be ambassadors for the harp, role models for young harpists, and pave the way for new and unique ensembles, which they have been doing since the group’s formation in 2012.
Their second album Dance Sketches, released independently, features recent works for harp alongside arrangements by founding member Marguerite Lynn Williams, a distinguished teacher and Principal Harpist of the Lyric Opera Orchestra of Chicago. These include Spanish Dance No 1 from Falla’s opera La Vida Breve, Delibes’ Prelude and Mazurka from Coppélia and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No 2. These bookend more recent works including Three Dance Sketches (2016), written for the London Harp Quartet by Richard Bissill, and three lovely Avian Arabesques (2009) by Paul Patterson in which dance themes pay tribute to three species of powerful birds.
Cuban harpist and composer Alfredo Rolando Ortiz wrote Cuban Dream after the Storm (2015) especially for the Chicago Harp Quartet; a dreamlike raindrop-infused reverie true to its name. More delights await for harp lovers in this well-chosen program of works that complement each other beautifully, uniting an international spread of pieces. The performances are dazzling and fresh, the recording uniformly warm and rich.