“Fantasies & Impromptus” – Music of PIERNE; SPOHR; SAINT-SAENS; FAURE; VERDALLE; SNOER; ROUSSEL & GLIERE – Lavina Meijer, harp – Channel Cl.

by | Jun 11, 2011 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

“Fantasies & Impromptus” – PIERNE: Impromptu-Caprice; SPOHR: Fantasie; Variations on “Je suis encore dans mon printemps”; SAINT-SAENS: Fantasie; FAURE: Impromptu; Une Chatelaine en sa tour…; VERDALLE: 2nd Impromptu; SNOER: Fantasie on Netherlands folk song “Wien Neerlandsch bloed;” ROUSSEL: Impromptu; GLIERE: Impromptu – Lavina Meijer, concert harp – Channel Classics multichannel SACD CCS SA 31711, 72:04 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****:
This is the third SACD for Channel Classics from the Korean harpist who lives in the Netherlands. The prize-winning harpist has assembled a fine program of Fantasies and Impromptus by various composers, and it includes the world premiere recordings of two totally forgotten composers for the harp – Snoer and Verdalle.  In addition, the Saint-Saens Op. 95 Fantaisie is performed for the first time in its original version length of 11 minutes.
Both Snoer and Verdalle were concert harpists are the turn of the 19th century to the 20th. Snoer had been the lead harpist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam in 1888 at the age of only 20. Both harpists left us ten harp compositions each, which have all been forgotten until now.  The Verdalle Impromptu is extremely virtuosic – obviously designed for the composer himself to show off his skills in performance. The Snoer Fantasie is on a folk song which had been the Dutch national anthem until it was later discarded due to a text about “being free of foreign stain.”
All the works are most lovely and superbly performed and recorded. The one that seemed to have most depth and originality to me was Roussel’s Op. 21 Impromptu, which he had dedicated to Lily Laskine, the famous French harpist who made many recordings. While most of the composers here have eschewed the familiar harpy glissandos up and down the strings, Roussel has in the middle of his six-minute piece three of them, starting very loud and ending triple pianissimo. None of the pieces use the avant effects developed by another famous harpist, Nicanor Zabeleta, but get across their messages with more standard techniques.
The original DSD master was recorded using some new type of mike and interconnect cables from Dutch cable and cartridge pioneer A.J. van den Hul. All I noticed was that the sonics were up to the normal very high Channel Classics standard.
— John Sunier

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