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Posted July 29, 2013
Gorgeous harp music written by contemporary composers!
If you are a harp lover, then you probably know who Yolanda Kondonassis is – and for those that don’t, you are in for a treat as she is a masterful musician. This disc consists of nine works for harp by contemporary composers. But not to worry, this is not a collection of dissonant atonal pieces. Rather, it is a collection of evocative works brought to life in a very special way. The first piece, film composer John Williams’ “The Lanes of Limerick” from the score to “Angela’s Ashes” is an Irish flavored work that makes you just sit back and gape. “Stalk” by Hannah Lash, a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music in harp performance, offers us a complex work that speaks (per the composer in the informative liner notes) to being trapped in a garden full of beautiful flowers in nightmare (you just have to hear it to understand). Lowell Liebermann offers us “Music for Harp, Op. 116” in which the abilities of the harp are explored in numerous interesting ways. Stephan Paulus’ “Berceuse” is a single movement for solo harp of a work for Chamber Orchestra and features beautiful fluid passages of the type only possible on the harp. “Batelles” from Norman Dello Joio consists of 3 works that are somewhat soul-searching, although the second one is fairly spritely. “In a Landscape” is a John Cage work, and it is just gorgeous. This one pleasantly surprised me. Finally we have Elliott Carter’s “Bariolage” -- this is difficult to describe, parts of it seeming disjointed except that they are not, intermixed with somewhat haunting passages. Not my favorite work on the disc, but I am strangely glad that it is here.
The recording quality is excellent, and I can’t say enough about Ms. Kondonassis’ technique and music making ability. If you like harp music, then this CD is worth looking at. Strongly recommended.