Sunday, September 16, 2012

Handel: Harp Concerto (Grandjany)

Marcel Grandjany
This week I offer something that should be a real treat for lovers of the harp (and really now, who doesn't love the harp?) - a wonderful performance of Handel's Harp Concerto by that master of the instrument, Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975), complete with his own cadenza.  These records were my introduction to this ever-fresh piece, way back when I was a tot, and this remains my favorite recording of it (I'm not familiar with Grandjany's subsequent recording, from the early stereo era, on Decca).  The set is unique in my experience for having not one, but three separate fillers - a fact about which Irving Kolodin loudly complained in the May 29, 1948, issue of Saturday Review - apparently so that the Handel Concerto could be played in one pass through an automatic record changer.  These three extras present Grandjany's transcriptions of Baroque lute and keyboard pieces, and I for one am quite pleased to have them!

Handel: Harp Concerto in B-Flat major, Op. 4, No. 6
Marcel Grandjany with the RCA Victor Chamber Orchestra
conducted by Jean Paul Morel
Recorded March 12, 1946


Gottfried Kirchhoff: Aria and Rigaudon
François Couperin: Soeur Monique
Antoine Francisque: Pavane et Bransles
Marcel Grandjany, harp
Recorded September 30, 1946

RCA Victor set DM-1201, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 68.33 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 36.61 MB)


  1. Hello. Do you know about the recordings that Saint-Saens did in 1904? I am trying to find out information about what label they were on, and how rare and valuable they may be in today's collector market. Thanks for any help you can give me. -- Stephen [ braitman /at/ ]

    1. Yes, the Saint-Saens records are very rare and valuable. They were made for French G & T (Gramophone and Typewriter). They have been reissued on CD by Ward Marston ( along with his 1919 records, and records by Grieg and Raoul Pugno. A fabulous set (2 CD's) that every collector should have.

  2. Thanks for this rarity !
    The conductor is probably the same as "Jean" Morel, what do you think ?

    1. Definitely the same. I don't know at what point he dropped the "Paul." He taught conducting at Juilliard from 1949 and his students included James Levine and Leonard Slatkin.

  3. I'm a harpist. Thanks for sharing this find!

  4. Fantastic playing. As good as Pierre Jamet, at least. Clunky orchestra. Thank you very much. Any more?