Search This Blog

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Yolanda Kondonassis, American Harp

The harp goes back in our collective musical histories as far as just about any instrument, and yet today it does not enter the everyday life or local music making situations of many people. Especially in Euro-America, it is an instrument played almost exclusively by specialists. That is the case partially I suppose because the modern pedal harp is a complex instrument. Be that as it may the solo harp repertoire is also not as voluminous as that for, say, solo pianoforte. Combine all those factors and you have all the more reason to appreciate harpist Yolanda Kondonassis and her latest recording American Harp (Azica 71281).

This is a well-chosen, excellently played selection of solo harp works by modern American composers. There are several world premiere recordings--of works by Hannah Lash, Lowell Lieberman and Stephen Paulus, and they are fine additions to the music. Then there are somewhat more well-known pieces by everyone from John Williams to Norman Dello Joio, Elliot Carter and John Cage (a very nice version of "In a Landscape").

The harp has the sort of legacy and sound that everything from a primal tonality to a complex sophistication seems right in the hands of a talented player. One finds oneself responding nearly instinctively to the old in the new and the new in the old that the works here evoke.

Ms. Kondonassis plays brilliantly. And she brings out the beauty and saliency of each piece with great skill, imagination, and poetic artistry. This is solo harp at its most ravishing. It is wonderful to have and will brighten up your most cloudy days.

No comments:

Post a Comment