Roy Harris (1898-1979): Complete Piano Music


  • Roy Harris, composer
  • Geoffrey Burleson, piano (solo)


Piano Sonata, Op. 1

I. Prelude: Maestoso, con bravura 00:02:10
II. Andante ostinato: Misterioso 00:05:24.
III. Scherzo: Vivace 00:02:31
IV. Postlude: Maestoso, con bravura 00:01:40

Little Suite

I. Bells 00:01:03
II. Sad News 00:00:47
III. Children at Play 00:00:31
IV. Slumber 00:00:47

American Ballads, Set I

I. Streets of Laredo 00:02:11
II. Wayfaring Stranger 00:02:04
III. The Bird 00:01:42
IV. Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair 00:01:14
V. Cod Liver lle 00:02:05

Suite in 3 Movements

I. Occupation 00:02:28
II. Contemplation 00:04:38
III. Recreation 00:03:19

Toccata for Piano

Toccata for Piano 00:04:31

American Ballads, Set II

I. Li'l Boy Named David 00:03:07
II. When Johnny Comes Marching Home 00:01:53

Variations on an American Folk Song, "True Love Don't Weep"

Variations on an American Folk Song, "True Love Don't Weep" 00:03:43

Untitled Piano Piece (1926)

Untitled Piano Piece (1926) 00:03:14

Piano Sonata: III. Scherzo (original version)

Piano Sonata: III. Scherzo (original version) 00:02:55

A Happy Piece for Shirley

A Happy Piece for Shirley 00:01:10


Orchestrations 00:01:30

Total Playing Time: 00:56:37

About Roy Harris (1898-1979): Complete Piano Music

According to his own accounts, Roy Harris was born in a log cabin in the Oklahoma panhandle in 1898. He went on to study composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, and become one of the most important American symphonists of the 20th century. His Symphony No. 3 brought him worldwide fame, and has been performed and recorded by the New York Philharmonic under Bernstein, and numerous other prominent orchestras and conductors. He also wrote a significant body of piano music, including his dynamic, virtuosic and highly distinctive Piano Sonata, Piano Suite and Toccata. His wide-ranging stylistic ingredients include Medieval chant, Baroque counterpoint, 20th century French music, jazz, American folk music, and dramatic polytonal sonorities. This recording includes five unpublished pieces, four of which receive their world premieres on this release.

Roy Harris (1898-1979): Complete Piano Music - Naxos, Catalogue No: 8.559664, released in 09/2010

Naxos, Catalogue No: 8.559664, released in 09/2010

Order online: "Roy Harris (1898-1979): Complete Piano Music"

Praise for Roy Harris (1898-1979): Complete Piano Music

"Roy Harris painted with a broad brush in his orchestral works and it's a fascinating experience to hear how he translates his hyperoriginal musical language to the piano. He was married to an excellent pianist, Johana Harris, who played his music with verve. So does Geoffrey Burleson on this new CD, which is a sample of Harris's headstrong and brilliant music. Discover Roy Harris."
Performance: *****
Recording: *****
- Thomas Roth, OPUS Magazine (Sweden)

"It is hard to believe that Roy Harris wrote 13 symphonies as well as numerous programmatic works, chamber pieces, and the nearly hour's worth of piano music on this pioneering CD. Harris is both a great original and a highly enjoyable composer. Yes, the big pieces like the 1928 Sonata are full of massive polytonal chords and disjunct patterns, but the effect is one of majestic expansiveness and austere ecstasy. There is nothing remotely alienating or self-indulgently 'modern' here: this music reaches out and grabs your imagination. Some of the Americana - 'Streets of Laredo', 'Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair' - is instantly recognizable, though Harris subjects these tunes to chordal variations that make them his own, much as Bach did with Lutheran hymns or Schubert with drinking songs. Geoffrey Burleson plays them all with imposing sonority or simple charm, as required.
- Jack Sullivan, American Record Guide

"Trained by Nadia Boulanger, Roy Harris had a quite different slant from Charles Ives on what American music might be. Burleson's playing, like the music itself, is truthful, unshowy yet carefully wrought - the punchy contrapuntal dialogue of the Sonata's Scherzo pungently etched."
- Paul Riley, BBC Music Magazine