6. Duo pour Cor et Harpe (c. 1865)
Edmond Weber (1838-1885)

Edmond Weber (Strasbourg 1838–1885) was a colleague of Stenebruggen teaching at the Strasbourg conservatory. Weber dedicated at least three pieces to Stenebruggen of which this duet for horn and harp is the only one has remained unpublished.
In 1855 Joseph Hasselmans (Antwerp 1814–Brussels 1902), a violin player from the Liègeois school became director of the Strasbourg conservatory. His son, Alphonse (Liège 1845–Paris 1912) was a prodigious harp player who would become one of the leading harp players of his generation.


This beautiful duet was written for both Liégeois in the typical colourful style they knew so well. De la vraie et belle musique, in its purest shape, written for two of the most poetic instruments of the romantic period. It is a fantasy piece, a written-out fairy-tale like improvisation worshiping the pure beauty of sound, demanding magical musical imagination in the interaction between players.

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Some notes on style & performance

The work asks for a very 'free' approach, starting and ending with a cadenza-like 'rêverie', and a middle part that is lyrical in its expression. We tried to stretch the cadenza passages as much as possible, creating an electrifying effect on stage, but challenging to capture in a recording. Tempi were kept slow, in order to avoid a 'rushing' effect in the harp part.




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About the Horn:

The horn part is written for natural horn in E flat, so I performed it on a French natural horn (Courtois) as Stenebruggen would have done. The harp was an Erard 'style Gothique', as shown in a picture of Hasselmans of around 1890.



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Chants d'Amour...
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Tracks: Read&Listen
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Performers
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Alphonse Stenebruggen