Cantilena e Scherzo for harp and string quartet

Composer: Gian Carlo Menotti (b. 1911 - d. 2007)
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Composer: Gian Carlo Menotti (b. 1911 - d. 2007)

Performance date: 02/07/2011

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1977

Duration: 00:11:53

Recording Engineer: Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Small Mixed Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: 2vn, va, vc, hp

Artists: RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet (Gregory Ellis, Keith Pascoe [violins], Simon Aspell [viola], Christopher Marwood [cello]) - [quartet]
Clíona Doris - [harp]

This year sees the centenary of Gian Carlo Menotti’s birth. He is most famous for his Christmas classic Amahl and the Night Visitors composed for NBC television in 1951. From the Forties onwards he wrote some 30 stage works, often to his own libretti, which continue to be produced all over the world. In 1958 he founded the Festival of Two Worlds at Spoleto in Italy, matching this in 1977 with its sister Spoleto Festival at Charleston, South Carolina.
The Cantilena e Scherzo for harp and string quartet is a typically elegant addition to the harp chamber music repertoire such as the Ravel that we have just heard. The Cantilena gives some idea of Menotti’s innate lyricism and his unabashed ability to create attractive and popular melodies. The nostalgic theme is fully indulged before being brought to a vivid climax and then the fleet-footed Scherzo is let loose in a chattering triple rhythm. When this has run its course, a delicious harp cadenza leads back into the reprise of the Cantilena.