“French Reflections” – FAURE: Une chatelaine en sa tour; Imptomptu; CAPLET: Divertissements: a la Franciase, a L’Espagnole; TOURNIER: Sonatine; DEBUSSY: Estampes: La soiree dans Grnade; Jardins sous la pluie; SCHOELLER: Esstal; MANTOVANI: Tocar – Sivan Magen, harp – Linn multichannel SACD CKD 473, 61:00 [Distr. by Naxos] (9/11/15) *****:

French composers have brought the concert harp to new levels of virtuosity, expression and technical complexity. The dreamy impressionist style of harp music is perfectly reflected in the Debussy and Tournier selections, and Caplet uses very unique writing for the harp. The Mantovani piece shows off the more virile characteristics of the harp,while the Schoeller work displays a more peaceful mood with delicate figurations.

French composers of the early 20th century were preoccupied with sonority, resonance, imagery and exotic modalities – so which instrument was better suited than the concert harp to explore these new realms?

Magen is the only Israeli to have ever won the International Harp Contest in Israel, and he has performed in many chamber music festivals around the world. This is his second Linn SACD, and his first won five stars from BBC Music Magazine.

—John Sunier