Saturday, June 05, 2010

Harty, Irish inspiration

British/Irish composers have never got the appreciation they deserve outside their own countries. Hamilton Harty (1879 – 1941) is an excellent example. His work may not be grandmasterly, but it is always a joy to listen to his late romantic compositions. This Naxos CD gives an great introduction, compiling his three best works. An Irish Symphony takes a number of Irish tunes and weaves them cunningly into a symphonic tapestry, with a very visual overall effect. A delightful symphony. The dramatic tone poem With the wild geese, based on events in a war long ago, was my first encounter with this composer, and it holds up as one of the better in its genre. Finally, In Ireland is hardly less interesting than its counterparts. Not surprisingly, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland under O'Duinn is very much at home in this repertoire. An excellent introduction to an undervalued composer.