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Toccata: works for harp by Paradies, Rota, A Scarlatti et al

Elisa Netzer (Naxos)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Works for harp by Paradies, Rota, A Scarlatti, Turina, etc
Elisa Netzer (harp)
Naxos 8.573835   51:49 mins

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The title Toccata usually promises a deal of animation, and, with a bit of luck, a liberal sprinkling of ear-catching virtuosity. Could any genre be more appropriate for someone wanting to cut a dash with a debut disc? Still, you can have too much of a good thing, and Elisa Netzer is too astute a programmer not to dampen down the flames with toccata couplings such as Turina’s Op. 50 which appends a fugue (of sorts!); Mortari’s Sonatina prodigio which works its way up to toccata frenzy via a ‘Gagliarda’ and ‘Canone’, (the first feistily despatched, the second beautifully inflected under Netzer’s fingers); or a concluding twosome uniting a ‘Sarabanda’ and eminently cheerful ‘Toccata’ by Nino Rota. Netzer’s own transcriptions of toccatas by Alessandro Scarlatti and Paradisi are romantically delivered with generous washes of sound notwithstanding her careful articulation; but her command of a rich colour palette is evident throughout, most notably in the recording’s most extended work – a Toccata written especially for her by Stephan Hodel which subverts stereotypes to consider notions of ‘touch’ including percussive flourishes on the soundboard. There’s no doubting that Netzer is a major talent.

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Paul Riley