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Chamber music by Michael A. Kimbell

Ballade Arctique (full version) for solo harp (2013)
14 min

Arctic Ballade (short version) for solo harp (2013)
7 min

Musical retelling of a true story related by Canadian author Farley Mowat in his book People of the Deer. An Innuit hunter fails to bring back food; his wife and child perish.

Hear an excerpt (beginning of both versions)

Purchase the short version score (pdf)

Purchase a recording of the full version on Katrina Szederkényi’s CD Fantasias & Fugues


Harpist Katrina Szederkényi has set herself a prodigious task with this album: presenting fantasias and fugues from the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries by a variety of composers, including J.S. Bach, Joaquín Turina, Elias Parish-Alvars, Michael Kimbell, and Henriette Renié. All consist of themes with fugal variations, and two of them (including Kimbell’s Ballade Arctique, written for Szederkényi and presented here in its world-premiere recording) are essentially tightly-structured tone poems. This album offers not only a portrait of an exceptionally talented young harpist, but also a handy catalogue of harp style and techniques from across four centuries.
CD Hotline

Katrina Szederkényi, born in Canada and educated in Vienna and Frankfurt, has come out with a gorgeous-sounding, consistently pleasing recital of works from Bach to the present that show off all the finer qualities of her instrument.
We hear [these glissandi] right at the beginning of the opening section of J. S. Bach's Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903. They engage our attention immediately with their whirling arpeggiated figurations for which the harp, though not the original instrument Bach had in mind, seems ideally suited today. In the Fugue, precise articulation of notes for which the harp is also well-equipped, and which Szederkényi realizes so beautifully, make the subjects stand out in high resolution.
A different sort of effect is used in Ballade Arctique (2013) by American composer Michael Kimbell to capture the atmosphere of the far north and the seriousness of an Inuit legend of an old woman's curse on a hunter who refused to share his caribou kill with his starving fellow men.
Audio Society of Atlanta, August 2014