Schubert sonatas

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Piano solo and duet
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Music for Solo Harp
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Liebesträume No. 3 (arranged Renié)
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
Harp Solo from Lucia di Lammermoor (arranged Zabel)
Mikhail GLINKA (1804-1857)
Hugo REINHOLD (1854-1935)
Impromptu Op.28 No. 3
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Etude Op.25 No. 1 (arranged Posse)
Franz ROSETTI (c.1750-1792)
Sonata No. 2
Louis SPOHR (1784-1859)
Fantasie Op.35
Wilhelm POSSE (1852-1925)
Etudes Nos. 2, 7
Elias PARISH-ALVARS (1808-1849)
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Un Sospiro (arranged Renié)
Elizabeth Hainen (harp)
Rec. St. John Chrysostom Church, Ontario, March 2001
NAXOS 8.555791 [61:56]


The works here range from those written for single and double action pedal harp. All are played with consummate grace and room-to-spare dexterity by the principal harpist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Many are of course transcriptions – and they sound none the less splendid for all that – though greater amplitude of textual and colouristic potential probably resides in the works of executant-composers such as those by Elias Parish-Alvars, whose delightful Nocturne is here.

The rippling figurations of the Donizetti serve notice of Hainen’s virtuosity but the sustenance of melody lines and the tonal shading is equally notable. The Glinka is a pleasant surprise – light but delightfully lyric and crisply accented – and the Reinhold, by contrast, sounds especially tricky, especially in its early pages. The arrangement of Rosetti’s Keyboard Sonata No.2 makes for a resonant twelve minutes’ worth of explicitly Haydnesque music-making.

For an example of the superior kind of voicings that a real virtuoso can exploit from the harp I suggest a listen to the eight and a half minutes of Spohr – really splendid stuff textually and digitally. An evocative recital then and evocatively recorded. There sounds like a moment of transient distortion on my copy (Liebesträume No.3 at around 3.30) but it’s very brief and hardly disturbs the passage of this elegant programme.

Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Patrick Waller

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