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     Alvars, Elias Parish (28th February 1808-25th January 1849)

    Born as Eli, he was a composer and harpist born in Teignmouth, Devon, England.  His father was a music handler, voice teacher and organist and gave him his first musical education.  He made his concert debut when he was ten and when he was twelve he studied in London with the harpist Nicolas Bochsa.  He was refused entrance to the Royal Academy of Music possibly due to his fathers previous bankruptcy so, with the assistance of a local landowner, he continued to take private studies with Bochsa.  By the time he was 20 he had finished his education and went to live in Florence, Italy, for a year where he further studied composition and singing and went by the pseudonym Albert Alvars.  On his return to the UK he worked for a harp maker for a while and then left to take a tour of North Germany followed by Scandinavia, Russia, Constantinople and much of the rest of Europe.  During these travels he met Sigismund Thalberg and Carl Czerny who he would compose and perform with.  Settling in Vienna for a few years he taught and performed as a solo harpist at the Hofopertheater.  Making a series of tours in 1842 and 1843 he travelled much of Germany and Europe and Hector Berlioz said, "This man is a magician."  He continued to perform for most of the rest of his life and in 1846 he was made Imperial Virtuoso in Vienna.  His compositions include "Favourite Sultan's March", "Il Mandolino", "Concertino in D minor", a Grand Fantasia, serenatas, many concertos and works for harp.  After riots had gone on in Vienna in the Spring of 1848 he found himself out of a job and unable to travel or teach due to the lack of money and his pupils' families having fled.  He and his family lived in a small apartment in Leopoldstat with money he had been leant by a friend, but his health suffered badly and after contracting pneumonia he died in 1849 aged just 40.




    Harp Concerto in G Minor

    Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Marielle Nordman, harp - Sony 58919


    Introduction, Cadenza and Rondo

    Judy Loman, harp - Naxos 8.554347



    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elias_Parish_Alvars
    2. http://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/community/exe/history/alvars.htm













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