Classical Music

Music In The Making: We’re Not Harping On About It, But…

Listen to your harp’s delight to this week’s episode, featuring Naomi Hoffmeyer!

On this week’s episode, we’re joined by harpist Naomi Hoffmeyer, who will be soloing with the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra in their upcoming concert, on September 25th in Stude Concert Hall. We’ll hear a special performance, learn a bit about the harp, and listen to music relating to Naomi’s story. 

Naomi Hoffmeyer in Geary Recording Studio
Naomi Hoffmeyer in Geary Performance Studio

Henriette Renié: Contemplation
Naomi Hoffmeyer, harp
September 15, 2016
Geary Recording Studio

Henriette Renie is well known for both her compositions for harp, her pedagogical methodology, and, through her promotion of the double-action harp, her advancement of the physical instrument itself. Throughout her life, she faced rampant discrimination because of her gender. She persevered, however, and ultimately taught, performed, and composed prolifically.

 

Alberto Ginastera – Pampeana

Hoffmeyer recording "Contemplation," at Houston Public Media
Hoffmeyer recording “Contemplation,” at Houston Public Media

No. 2, Op. 21
Brinton Averil Smith (cello) and Evelyn Chen (piano)
February 10, 2013
Duncan Recital Hall

Next, we’ll explore Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera’s oeuvre. Born in Buenos Aires, Ginastera was consistently influenced by the music of his homeland, and his compositions are rife with folk music inflections. His compositions entitled “Pampeana” relate to the Argentine Pampas – the South American lowlands. In Pampeana No. 2, a rhapsodic composition for cello and piano, he references the gaucho singing tradition, as seen in the opening cello statement. 

Alberto Ginastera – Sonata No. 1, op. 22
Tali Morgulis, piano
September 26, 2010
Moores Opera House

The next work, the Piano Sonata No 1, also exhibits Ginastera’s nationalistic musical tendencies. However, Ginastera avoids explicitly quoting existing folk melodies. Instead, the lively, dance-like rhythms and energetic syncopation give the work its specifically Argentine-flavor.

Toru Takemitsu in 1961
Toru Takemitsu in 1961

Toru Takemitsu – And Then I Knew ‘Twas Wind
Leone Buyse (flute), James Dunham (viola), and Paula Page (harp)
February 1, 2012
Duncan Recital Hall

Earlier, Naomi mentioned her teacher, Paula Page, citing her as the reason she joined the Shepherd Community. We’ll hear a performance now featuring Miss Page, who served as the Principal Harpist of the Houston Symphony for thirty years. She’ll be featured in this performance of Takemitsu’s “And then I Knew ‘Twas Wind,” a chamber work for flute, viola, and harp. The composer drew inspiration from the poem “Like Rain it Sounded till it curved,” by Emily Dickinson, ultimately using a line of her poetry as the title, and modeled his composition on Debussy’s Sonata for the same ensemble. 

This episode originally aired Sunday, September 18th, 2016. Catch Music in the Making every Sunday at 7:06 PM on Classical.

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