COMPOSERS: Fauré & Debussy,Lecuona,Saint-Saens & Pierné; arrangements of works by Puccini,Salzedo,Works by Grandjany
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Romantic Harp
WORKS: Malagueña; Rhapsodie; Variations sur un thème dans le style ancien; Impromptu Caprice
PERFORMER: Yolanda Kondonassis (harp)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-80581
The perception that most people have of the harp is as a Romantic instrument, and the selection of repertoire and recorded sound here both affirm that idea, rejoicing in the richness and fullness of gorgeous sonority. Kondonassis offers a mixture of original material and arrangements, three of the latter by herself. Her playing possesses power and depth, especially in Grandjany’s Rhapsodie, and this contrasts with filigree delicacy in the arrangement of Lecuona’s Malagueña and also in the bravura Salzedo Variations sur un thème dans le style ancien and Pierné’s Impromptu caprice. Melodies are well projected, notably in Fauré’s Après un rêve, and the playing generally has clarity and precision as well as musical shaping. In Saint-Saëns’s Fantaisie some of the long rests and pauses between sections have been cut short and there is some misleading rhythmic displacement in the performance of the Pierné. The rendition of Debussy’s Valse romantique captures rather more of the ‘Romantique’ of the title than the performance by Catrin Finch on her CD Coast to Coast (Kissan) reviewed in April.