This recording celebrates the ongoing attraction of Italy and especially Rome as a place of artistic pilgrimage and inspiration.
It premieres Australian composer Michael Kieran Harvey’s Carpe Diem (2015) in context with Italian-inspired solo piano works by significant composers of the past, including the Italian composers Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968), the Hungarian Franz Liszt (1811-1886), the American Charles Gri es (1885-1920) and the Frenchman Pierre Petit (1922-2000).
Born in Tasmania, Arabella Teniswood-Harvey studied piano in Melbourne where, in 1999, she was one of the few elite young Australian musicians awarded full scholarship for the prestigious Australian National Academy of Music’s inaugural Advanced Performance Program.
“I suggest dimming the lights and turning the volume levels to very low, almost inaudible - and listening to the piano as if it came from a great distance away, across a vast gulf of Space, Time and Being. Then one will hear a beautifully sculpted performance by the Australian (Tasmanian resident) Arabella Teniswood-Harvey (ATH hereafter), that captures the harmonic movement of Liszt's impressionism, along with his 'fioritura'. Just as with all mystical experience, one must make an effort to reach this fragile meaning, but if one does, it will burst forth in a glowing resplendence. [In the Ottorino Respighi pieces] ATH renders the density without loss of clarity and her sense of harmony is excellent. The balance and voicing of chords is ideal. In the second 'Prelude', I marvel at the bass note octaves: How does she get that sound? It's not a hammer blow, it's not a staccato, it's not an organ bass line, it is a semi-staccato that has sonority. I'm impressed. The eponymous work by Michael Kieran Harvey (composed in 2015) begins with a virtuoso surge of clarity and sunshine, and then clouds appear to draw the mind back to solitary and inner matters. While the mystical, the beautiful, the resplendent are all features of Italy, ATH performs this demanding composition with superb command, having powerful control of chords and octaves, and in the sombre moments, a profound and subdued wisdom of sound. Indeed: 'seize the day', and luxuriate in the Beauty of Italy.”Read full review
— Richard Meszto, Classical Music Daily
“Teniswood-Harvey handles this sometimes arcane material with admirable command. The Liszt work is a restrained reading compared to those recorded by more flamboyant, effect-craving pianists, and its pages are negotiated without interpolated histrionics or nerve-tightening fluster. Real rarities, the Griffes pieces enjoy excellent treatment, their author’s uneven key signatures and mutating metres enunciated with an underlying stability that gives the composer great service, especially in his The Fountain of the Acqua Paola and White Peacock sketches more than in the not-as-original Clouds and Nightfall movements. Both here and in Respighi’s preludes, Teniswood-Harvey makes her most eloquent cases. If the Gregorian is undetectable, the virtuosity needed to handle demands on sheer stamina in the middle one and sustaining the elongated tension in the last is impressive. Further, the pianist keeps the preludes’ textural complex lucid, particularly in the three-stave spread of the concluding Lento. By comparison, the Petit pieces strike me as amiable atmospheric rambles, the San Carlo section making a striking initial impression for its unexpectedly determined statement while the Galoppatoio bridle path, despite its suggestive title, could be depicting anywhere. Michael Kieran Harvey’s work Carpe Diem, an injunction to action before it’s too late, was written as a birthday present for its current interpreter. Aggressive, restless, packed with notes, it grabs attention straight away – like its composer in action – and doesn’t let up, even when the dynamic level sinks. Inspired by the pines in the Villa Borghese gardens, Respighi’s opening movement depicts children playing – actually, rorting around the place with no concern for the plant life – and Harvey mirrors the original’s frenetic action, although the emotional effect is more serious. At the same time, it offers a final reaction to Rome that brings the disc to a close with a driving contemporary edge. It’s all well worth hearing, both for the high quality performances and for the opportunity to hear some illuminating rarities.”Read full review
— Clive O'Connell, O'Connell the Music
“Stylish, intellectual and artistic, this production is quintessentially Italian in its elegance, combining music, expertly written text and photography. Australian pianist Arabella Teniswood-Harvey has devised an attractive program, skilfully selected from Italy-inspired pieces that range from Liszt in the 19th century to Michael Kieran Harvey in the 21st. Her performances are superb and, before the listener hears any music, s/he will be struck by the quality of the accompanying booklet – Teniswood-Harvey has a special interest in the relationships between music and visual art, enhancing her insightful program notes by a number of her own photographic images. Michael Kieran Harvey wrote Carpe Diem – Italian Gothic ‘Bas-Relief’ as a birthday gift for his wife Arabella Teniswood-Harvey, knowing that she was well able to perform this virtuoso work. The composition resulted from their trip to Italy in 2015 and their subsequent discussions about how the distinctive pines in the Villa Borghese might be depicted in piano music. The result is Carpe Diem (‘seize the day’), a “rumination” on Respighi’s The Pines of Rome.”Read full review
— Gwen Bennett, Music Trust Website
- Années de Pelerinage vol. III "Les jeux d'eaux la Ville d'Este" Franz Liszt
- The White Peacock
- The fountain of the Acqua Paola
- No. 1 (Molto lento)
- No. 2 (Tempestoso)
- No. 3 (Lento)
- No.1 Onde corte
- No. 2 Onde lunghe
- San Carlo
- Carpe Diem (2015) Con mote - Meno moss, con rubato - A tempo Michael Kieran Harvey
Roman Sketches, Op. 7 Charles Tomlinson Griffes
Tre Preludi pe pianoforte sopra melodie Gregoriane Ottorino Respighi
Onde: 2 Studi per pianoforte Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Suite pour le piano Pierre Petit
Franz Liszt (1811–1886) was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher. As a composer, Liszt was one of the most prominent representatives of the "Neudeutsche Schule" ("New German School").
Australian pianist and composer, Dr Michael Kieran Harvey FAHA, is one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary piano music of his generation. A champion of Australian music and himself a composer, he regularly commissions new Australian music and has performed with Australia's leading contemporary music ensembles and orchestras.
Where to buy
Move CDs can be ordered through music retailers across Australia including Readings.