solo harp CD:

Pleasantries & Diversions
Softly Soothing and Gently Cheerful Refreshment for the Soul
Barbara Ann Fackler, harp

Chicago, IL

What a delightful recording!  Some great old songs and tunes. Bill Bukowski, Music Host/Operations Coordinator, WSCL 89.5 FM/Public Radio Delmarva

I received the CD and listened to it yesterday afternoon while the snow continued to fall quietly outside, and continued, and the CD was the perfect music for gentle falling snow and calm, it definitely lives up to the title. J.H. Colorado

I love the CD. I play it when I get a lot of anxiety and it really helps.  M. Ohio

I suffer from chronic pain. Listening to Pleasantries & Diversions helps me more than anything of late.  C. Illinois


harp solo CD: relaxation, healing, soothing$15.00 plus $5.00 shipping: US and Canada only

Please inquire regarding foreign shipping and bulk discounts.

Liner notes were created after production: download a PDF to print and trim to fit inside your CD case.

Current free music download:  Promises (low quality mp3)

Available locally:

  Caine's Flowers
   137 2nd St Nw
   Barberton, OH 44203
   330-745-3913


Purchase digital downloads ($9.99) from CD Baby
Barbara Ann Fackler: Pleasantries & Diversions

Purchase CDs through secure this website(USA and Canada only):

Pleasantries & Diversions

Printable form for mail in orders: PDF download

Digital downloads now available from
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Pleasantries & Diversions on the radio:

St. Patrick's Day: Irish Fantasia featured on Missouri radioCD of the week for National Public Radio - solo harp music


Titles in blue are clickable links to hear a short demo(mp3)

Notes:

1) The Pleasant Ohio is a lovely tune from the region where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers converge. It's a song of hope celebrating the richness of the region found by new homesteaders as settlers moved westward.

2-4) How Can I Keep From Singing had an interesting evolution, beginning as a hymn tune. This haunting melody from the late 1800s can be found in two different meters, both included in my arrangement. Eva Cassidy, Enya, Judy Collins, and Bruce Springsteen have also recorded this song.   and Simple Gifts are also early American hymn tunes that have found popularity outside of the church. I love how the words to each fits the music perfectly.

5) began, according to some, as a Polish waltz, became wildly popular in Texas and eventually returned to Poland and Germany through American musicians. It's sweetly gentle and soothing at the same time.  

6) I Would Love You All the Day, better known as Over the Hills and Far Away, was popular enough in its day in England that D'Urfey included it in several of his collections of music and poetry, (Pills to Purge Melancholy, 1706). Also very popular in America, especially the early American west, there are several different lyrics set to the tune. My favorite, from John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728) includes these lyrics:

        And I would love you all the day,
        Every night would kiss and play,
        If with me you'd fondly stray
        Over the hills and far away

D'Urfey included a more traditional folk lyric to the tune. New words were added when the tune was used as the underscore for the PBS TV series, Sharpe(1993-2008).  There are two slightly differing versions of this tune, both of which are included in this arrangement.

7-10) Silberjahr-Ländler were my husband's 25th anniversary gift to me. I've always thought Wagner's birthday gift to his wife (1870) was one of the most wonderful gifts ever. The Siegfried Idyll is my favorite of Wagner's compositions. His presentation must have been magical as he hired a group of friends to wake her with a performance which took place on the stairs of their villa. When Dan presented these delightful pieces to me on our anniversary I was surprised beyond words. Each time I perform these dances, my joy is renewed as I see the delight and wonder in my audiences at their first hearing. I'm often asked to repeat them on subsequent visits.  What I have-- that Cosima didn't-- is the ability to hear this music any time I wish. What a shame that that most wives have to settle for some store bought trinket on their anniversary!  One very astute man told me, during a recent recital that I'll never need another annversary gift. He's absolutely correct.
Silberjahr-Ländler Nr.1       Silberjahr-Ländler Nr. 2        Silberjahr-Ländler Nr. 3       Silberjahr-Ländler Nr. 4

11-15) Greensleeves, my mom's favorite request, is probably the oldest English tune we have on record. , Italiana and Siciliana were used by Respighi in his Ancient Airs and Dances. The versions here were taken from the original lute music. The Pavane is here just because I like it, stately, slow and organized, it's a pleasant form.

16) I love the music of Vaughan Williams, especially his Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus. I learned, while studying this music, that the variants are settings of five of his favorite tunes to which the text 'Dives and Lazarus' was set. My setting includes three favorite variants, all under the name Kingsfold, the name Vaughan Williams gave to the variant that he used in a hymn setting.

17-18) I just really like some of these ancient songs. The haunting melodies, La Rosa Enflorece(Traditional Sephardic) and The Snow It Melts the Soonest,  are so easy to listen to over and over that I never tire of them. Sometimes the most simple of compositions are the most delightful.

19) Promises, whether made bride to groom, parent to child, or God to His people never change, yet never look the same from day to day. While not stated in every measure, the foundation of this piece, a descending a-minor scale, never changes. Like a promise faithfully fulfilled, each iteration of the melody is a new interpretation of the promise. This is dedicated to Ron Price, my friend and mentor from Healing Harps.

20-21) Laua Fako Utley kindly gave me copies of her compositions, Contemplation and Peace and I fell in love with them. She has graciously allowed me to include them on this CD, in my own arrangements. She uses them when playing in a local hospital and I've found them useful in my hospice work as well as for weddings, church, and background music.

22-23) What collection of soothing music would be complete without lullabies? Hush a Bye and All the Pretty Little Horses are two of my favorites, and if you pay attention, you'll hear brief quotes from two others. We think of lullabies as children's music, but in Europe, lullabies are commonly heard during the Christmas season. There's no reason not to enjoy them at all stages of life. There are so many beautiful lullabies!

24) The Irish Fantasia is my setting of Londonderry Air (also known as Danny Boy) included for my father, for whom I learned it years ago. It is placed last on the CD in memory of Mary Jo, who always played it last as a signal for her husband to help load up her harp. Appropriate as well for Dad, who was often waiting for me to finish performing so he could move the harp home again. It wasn't until I left home for college that I realised I was going to have to move the harp myself.