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Music for Solo Harp
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)

Liebesträume No. 3 (arr. Renié)
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)

Harp Solo from Lucia di Lammermoor (arr. Zabel)
Mikhail GLINKA (1804-1857)

Nocturne
Hugo REINHOLD (1854-1935)

Impromptu Op.28 No. 3
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)

Etude Op.25 No. 1 (arr. 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)

Serenade
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)

Un Sospiro (arr. Renié)
Elizabeth Hainen (Harp)
Rec. St. John Chrysostom Church, Ontario, March 2001 DDD
NAXOS 8.555791 [61:56]

 

This attractive programme of 19th century music played on the solo harp mixes pieces originally written for the instrument (by Glinka, Reinhold, Spohr, Posse and Alvars) with arrangements, predominantly from keyboard originals. Whilst the Liszt and Chopin arrangements work well enough, the original pieces are more striking, perhaps none more so than Spohrís Fantasie. He had the advantage of being married to the harpist, Dorette Scheidler, who gave an acclaimed performance of this work in Leipzig in 1807. Posse and Alvars were harpists themselves, the latter publishing almost a hundred compositions and pioneering the double action pedal harp. Lasting nearly 13 minutes, and in three movements, Rosettiís Sonata is the most substantial offering on the disc. In a style reminiscent of early Haydn, it was originally written for keyboard but works well on the harp.

Elizabeth Hainen is currently principal harpist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and an established international virtuoso. She plays a 1990 Lyon and Healy gold-gilded concert grand harp and a 1995 "Salzedo" harp. Her playing is delightful throughout, making the most of the music and sustaining interest with subtle dynamic shading. She produces an exquisite sound which is faithfully captured by the engineers in an acoustic which seems ideal. This is the best recorded harp sound I have yet heard.

A highly successful disc and an ideal introduction to the solo harp. Further recordings from this source would be very welcome - how about some Dussek?

Patrick C Waller


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