Music of Roy Harris

Ross Zimdars (piano), Alexander Ross (violin)

Catalog #: TROY0105
Release Date: November 1, 1993
Format: Digital

Roy Harris's life (1898-1979) was a singular phenomenon: humble beginnings on the family farm; truck driving to support his musical studies; study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger supported by a patroness; performances of his symphonies by Koussevitzky, Toscanini, Ormandy, and Bernstein; a series of academic positions around the country; marriage to a brilliant pianist; a large family of his own; and hard work up to the end of his days. Today's foremost authority on the life and works of Harris, musicologist Dan Stehman, has this to say about the piano works: "...the piano pieces reveal Harris's exceptional skill as a miniaturist, working concisely and unpretentiously to create clearly defined moods. For many listeners these compositions have served as the initial introduction to his music and, indeed, they remain one of the easiest approaches to his style and technique." In 1942 the Sonata for Violin and Piano was awarded the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal for eminent service to Chamber Music. Yehudi Menuhin, Josef Gingold, Henri Temianka, Sidney Harth, and Eudice Shapiro are among the distinguished violinists who have programmed it. Although Harris sanctioned cuts in the first and last movements, the performance recorded here presents the sonata in its entirety.


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Piano Suite Roy Harris Richard Zimdars, piano
American Ballads I Roy Harris Richard Zimdars, piano
American Ballads II Roy Harris Richard Zimdars, piano
Sonata for Violin and Piano Roy Harris Alexander Ross, violin, Richard Zimdars, piano
True Love Don't Weep Roy Harris Richard Zimdars, piano
Toccata Roy Harris Richard Zimdars, piano
Little Suite Roy Harris Richard Zimdars, piano
Sonata for Piano Roy Harris Richard Zimdars, piano


  • "The disc contains Harris' complete piano music, plus the Violin Sonata...As usual, one can hear that Harris was an uneven composer, but there are treasures of delight here. The most immediately attractive music of the new collection will surely be the American Ballads. They include gorgeous arrangements of some of the best folk songs...But the heroic, gaunt Piano Sonata in four movements deserves attention - a grandly noble piece of open textures. The Suite, like the Sonata, is basically symphonic in style, essentially joyous - as is most of Harris....Still, the most important work here is surely the Violin Sonata....Harris achieves something akin to the poetry of Walt Whitman here, mixing sweeping lyricism with granite strengths."

    – InTune

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