Gregory Harrington, violin = Reflections – Estile Records

by | May 27, 2007 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Gregory Harrington: Reflections = MONTI: Csardas; KREISLER: Syncopation; Miniature Viennese March; UNGAR: Ashokan Farewell; PROKOFIEV: March from The Love for 3 Oranges; FIBICH: Poem; COULTER: The Battle of Kinsale; WILLIAMS: Theme from Schindler’s List; SHOSTAKOVICH: Prelude No. 24 in D Minor; PIAZZOLLA: Chiquilin de Bachlin; Milonga en RE; BOHM: Pepetuum mobile; GERSHWIN: Summertime; KHACHATURIAN: Sabre Dance; TRAD: Danny Boy; Deep River – Gregory Harrington, violin/ William Lewis, piano – Estile Records 78307248905, 52:20 [] ****:

Gregory Harrington (b. 1975) is a Dublin-born artist, a pupil of the late Erick Friedman, which qualifies Harrington as an inheritor of the Heifetz tradition. His 1861 Giuseppe Rocca instrument take us into “camp ground” in several respects besides his excursion with William Lewis into the traditional air, Deep River. Harrington conceives of his Reflections disc as a tribute to his late mother, who loved tunes both soft and pungent. Having begun with Monti’s spirited Czardas, Harrington applies his crisp tone and fast vibrato to Kreisler’s bouncy Syncopation. The same lightly demure approach marks the D Minor Prelude of Shostakovich, although the runs and spiccati can sizzle. So, too does Bohm’s Perpetuum mobile keep Harrington’s bow lithe and wrist in constant motion. Swift, slanting attacks for Kreisler’s lilting Miniature Viennese March, and implosive, subdued bravura for Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance from Gayaneh, arranged by the master Heifetz himself.

Ungar’s tearful Ashokan Farewell refers to a Civil War incident involving the death at the first Battle of Bull Run of Major Sullivan Ballou. His touching letter to his wife Sarah, his “dying declaration,” appears in full in the liner notes. The Fibich Poem sings in the same lilting, sentimental vein. Even the acerbic Prokofiev March exhibits a tender lyricism. Coulter’s The Battle of Kinsale steps most delicately into our Irish consciousness, allowing pianist Lewis to make his own lovely points. The melody might be Maureen O’Hara’s smile at John Wayne in The Quiet Man. The two Piazzolla pieces allow an emotional crossover of tango rhythm and sentimental ballad, although the modally askew harmony of Milonga en Re pays homage to Stephan Grappelli. The theme from Schindler’s List rivals Perlman’s justly famous recording. I first heard the Londonderry Air (Danny Boy) as arranged by Kreisler with Zino Francescatti, and Harrington’s version would bring many a tear to the rebels at any Irish pub. Finally, the Heifetz arrangement of Gershwin’s sultry Summertime, reminding Harrington and us that his mama’s eternally good lookin’ by the eternal standards of art and love. Nice engineering by Marlan Barry to provide us a salon concert of intimate beauty.

— Gary Lemco

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