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Augustana harp instructor releases solo album

Dr. Erin Freund

Dr. Erin Freund, part-time assistant professor of music and harp instructor at Augustana, has released a new solo album entitled "Orchestral Transcriptions."

Freund edited the arrangements, which are published and available to purchase along with the album. Also featured on the album is harpist Ben Melsky, who studied at Northwestern University while Freund was a graduate student there. Freund has three students in her Augustana studio and gives lessons to seven students from the Quad-Cities community.

"Orchestral Transcriptions" features masterworks from the Romantic period "reimagined for harp, with the spirit and detail of the original compositions," said Freund. The album includes arrangements of Wagner's "Liebestod" from "Tristan und Isolde," Tchaikovsky's "Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture" and his "Panorama and Waltz" from "Sleeping Beauty," and a duet version of Mussorgsky's timeless "Pictures at an Exhibition."

The pieces on the album have been arranged numerous times for a variety of instruments and ensembles. Many of those were for the piano, which was a common fixture in many middle-class European and American homes during the 19th century. As the harp was not as widely accessible as its cousin in the string family, transcriptions for harp are not as common, and "they can make something old, new again; they can surprise a listener."

"Ultimately, I wish to honor the original composers by retaining the integrity of the original composition, while also making it sound like it had always been intended for the harp," said Freund.

"Orchestral Transcriptions" is available through Choralcds.org, Amazon, CDBaby, iTunes and on Freund's website