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Francois Boieldieu - Concert for Harp & Strings in C - II. Andante lento (Marisa Robles)

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Uploaded on Dec 14, 2008

While he is a mere footnote in today's musical history texts, Boieldieu was once phenomenally popular in Paris and achieved great success in theatric works, among them the opera "La dame blanche", selections from which are included in my playlists. Let us now pass onto a purely instrumental work of no lesser interest.

Written at the tender age of twenty, Boieldieu's Concerto in three movements betrays the composer's operatic roots, similarly to Mercadante's flute concertos. It opens with a long allegro section of some charm, but I decided to post only two following sections, as they are truly the work's highpoint, making the opening section almost seem a warm-up. The second movement, marked Andante lento, sounds for all the world like a dramatic cantabile for soprano transcribed for harp, and it is as beautiful as any such scene. The strings' sighing lines provide a slightly oppressive backdrop for the harp's gentle plucking but the piece settles for a much lighter mood in its' central bars, before returning, though, to the original sombre atmosphere which serves as a perfect transition for the next movement. The third section is marked as Allegro agitato, and the name does not lie: the harp abandons the lyricism of the second section for confused, richly ornamented lines but this musical idea is used to flank the central cadential sequences, set to a sunnier melody of tantalizing virtuosity (special mention should be given to the extremely brilliant cadence at 2:08 in the second posting). A superbly rich musical experience, all in all.

Marisa Robles is completely at ease with the idiom and her playing is consistently warm and sympathetic. Hope you'll enjoy :)!

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