Classical CD Reviews
“Harp Dances” – Floradela Sacchi, harp – works of SALZEDO, GRANADOS, LECUONA, ALBENIZ & RODRIGO – Decca “If Brahms Wrote for Harp” – 11 Intermezzi & a Rhapsodie – Tisha Murvihill – self
Published on January 28, 2013
“Harp Dances” – Floradela Sacchi, harp – SALZEDO: Suite of Dances; Song in the Night; GRANADOS: Danzas Espanolas Op. 37; LECUONA: Zambra Gitana; ALBENIZ: Suite Espanola Op. 47; RODRIGO: Danza de la Ampola – Decca (Italy) 470 3856 [Distr. by Albany] *****:
“If Brahms Wrote for Harp” – 11 Intermezzi and a Rhapsodie – Tisha Murvihill, harp – self [www.harptisha.com] – TMO42003, 58:51 ****:
These are both innovative collections of music for solo concert harp. As a little girl, Floradela Sacchi heard cassettes of some of the great composers, and invented little choreographies to the music, creating stories that the notes suggested to here. Later, studying the harp, she learned some of the theories of Carlos Salzedo, who created all sorts of new sounds and works on the harp. He searched for correspondence between motion and musical expression, as well as between technique and aesthetics.
This is a fine collection of Spanish-flavored music for harp. There are a number of Spanish-centered solo piano albums, but I don’t think I’ve heard one for solo harp as yet. Sacchi built her program here on pieces which had dance rhythms and for her recalled the pleasure and sensuality accompanying music-body relationships. This attitude makes the works heard here jump out at the listener with more gusto and interest than the typical harp recital. She selected pieces from the Granados piano suite that worked well on the harp—not all of them did. Salzado’s pieces are innovative and show off various techniques he discovered on the harp, but don’t sound a bit pedantic or overly avant as a result. The little Song of the Night, with which Sacchi ends her CD, is a wonderful little three-minute tone poem with a story, which is explained in the notes. The short piece by Rodrigo paraphrases the song “Amapola.” Rodrigo created a harp version of his famous Concierto de Aranjuez especially of Nicano Zabaleta. Excellent sonics thruout as well.
Harpist Murvihill is the Principal Harp of the Calgary Philharmonic and is often heard on CBC Radio in Canada. She has a Master’s degree in harp from Indiana University. She was listening to a pianist friend playing some of the Brahms’ Intermezzi when she realized it would sound amazing on the concert harp. Though some of them transcribed for her harp readily, others took more effort to translate. The result is this CD of 11 of them, plus the Rhapsodie Op. 119, No. 4 to close out the album. The recording was made in St. Matthew’s United Church in Calgary, which Murvihill found to have the some of the most beautiful harp acoustics she had ever heard.