SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

PHILIP GLASS: Piano music arranged for concert harp = Opening from “Glassworks;” Metamorphosis; Sel. from “The Hours” – Lavinia Meijer, harp – Channel Classics

An enjoyable multichannel recording of some of Glass' solo piano music which to me sounds even better on the harp.

Published on January 1, 2013

PHILIP GLASS: Piano music arranged for concert harp = Opening from “Glassworks;” Metamorphosis; Sel. from “The Hours” (film) – Lavinia Meijer, harp – Channel Classics multichannel SACD CCS SA 33912, 63:00 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:

This is not the first Channel Classics album by Ms. Meijer, who is South Korean, raised by a Dutch family. She has done three previous ones. She is also not the first to adapt some of the Glass’ piano music to the concert harp, as it seems to fit so well. On the label’s website you can enjoy a fine hi-def video of one of the selections, which opens with a short Skype conversation between the harpist and Philip Glass—who has never written directly for the harp.

All five movements of Glass’ 1988 Metamorphosis transcribe perfectly to harp, and Glass himself says in the Skype conversation that the harp brings out some sonorities in the music that are quite different from the piano. The dynamic range on some of these selections is quite wide, which you wouldn’t expect from a solo instrument. Meijer also plays six selections from Glass’ score to the film about Virginia Woolfe, The Hours. These arrangements are by Michael Riesman and Nico Mehly, and they found that some of the film score—which they skipped—just didn’t transcribe well from piano to harp.

If you wish, this album may be downloaded from the Channel Classics site (though only in stereo) at 192K, 96K or 44.1K—all 24-bit—or as a 320K MP3 audio file. And speaking of technical matters, Channel Classics has extremely high standards, and this session used B & K 4006 and Schoeps mics, Grimm Audio A-D processors using DSD Super, software from Pyramix Editing and Merging Technologies, cables by Van den Hul, a Classe 5200 amp, and speakers by Audiolab of Holland and B&W’s 803d series. U.S.-born Jared Sacks is the founder of the label and recording engineer for most of their recordings.

—John Sunier




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