Glière, Debussy, Mozart: Harp Concertos

Glière, Debussy, Mozart: Harp Concertos

by Claire Jones


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Claire Jones is the official harpist to Prince Charles, and it is easy to see why. This album is, simply, royal and top class. Accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra (and a flutist for the last concerto), Jones brings a vitality and energy to the harp that put it on par with the violin or any more commonly composed-for solo instrument. The Glière concerto begins boldly and cleanly, with an immediate sense that there is no shy harpist here. The orchestra is lush (some might find it a bit schmaltzy), with mid-20th century-sounding tonality along the lines of Rachmaninov or 1930s and '40s film scores. Jones plays the concerto in a way that is exciting to listen to, at times ethereal, at times dramatic. The second movement is considerably calmer, and when Jones plays in the high register it sounds rather like a guitar or lute. The orchestra is equally as pleasurable to listen to, and after the Giocoso movement, one wants to stand up and cheer. The Debussy "Danses" sound characteristically like Debussy, with whole tone scales and sweeping lines. The second dance has a waltzing lilt that concludes with a lavish ending. The greatest contrast on this album is the Mozart "Concerto for flute and harp," which sounds rather anticlimactic after the first two works (it would have been better to place it first on the album, but maybe Jones opted not to go in chronological order). Once again, Jones plays nimbly and with great agility. The flute melodies sometimes intertwine with the harp, and at other times, the harp echoes her co-soloist. The Andantino perfectly captures the spirit of Mozart's grace, with its regal, elegant beginning and tempo. For those listeners who might believe the harp is merely an instrument best suited to adding a bit of tone color to an orchestral piece here and there, this album will certainly change their conceptions. Jones has elevated the stature of her instrument, and it is no less exciting to hear her as an orchestral soloist than it is to hear a pianist, for example. Harp fans will absolutely delight in these three concertos, and may come away with a new sense of pride for their instrument. Highly recommended. ~ V. Vasan

Product Details

Release Date: 11/30/2010
Label: Signum Uk
UPC: 0635212021620
catalogNumber: 216
Rank: 213242


  1. Harp Concerto in E flat major, Op. 74
  2. Danses sacrée et profane, for chromatic harp & string orchestra, L. 103
  3. Concerto for flute, harp & orchestra in C major, K. 299 (K. 297c)

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