Barbara Harbach’s list of accomplishments makes impressive reading by anyone’s standards. She is, first and foremost, one of the world’s leading female composers having written symphonies and works for chamber ensemble, string orchestra, organ, harpsichord, musicals, choral anthems, film scores, modern ballets, and arrangements for brass and organ of Baroque works.
Somehow she also finds the time to research, edit, and publish manuscripts of eighteenth century keyboard composers. In addition, and perhaps most notably, she is a passionate advocate of women composers, both historically and contemporary. She has published works by Maria Hester Reynolds, Olivia Dussek, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Clara Schumann, and many others.
This quest has taken her into European and American libraries, searching for microfilm or manuscript editions of long lost works. She has then published them in her position as editor of Vivace Press and also recorded many of her findings.
Her work as a performer has captured the imagination of many American composers and, as a result, a substantial body of work has been written and dedicated to her.
Dr. Barbara Harbach is also the Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-St.Louis. If that is not enough, she somehow finds time to tour as both concert organist and harpsichordist. She holds academic degrees from both Pennsylvania State University (BA) and Yale University (MMA), the Eastman School Of Music (DMA), and also Musikhochschule in Frankfurt, Germany.
She initiated Women In The Arts, ‘a celebration of the achievements of women creators’. In recognition of her commitment and dedication, she has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. She has released numerous albums. It is a remarkable CV. Today I would like to review two of the most recent additions available through MSR Classics.
They are very different in style, a study a harpsichord followed by performances on church organ. Firstly, we have Six Sonatas For Harpsichord, Opus 2 (MSR ref. 1241). This work was written by the little known Anna Bon di Venezia (born c.1740). Her short life remains somewhat undocumented but she did leave us several works which were rediscovered by Dr. Harbach’s search for female composers.