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SACD Review

Phillip Glass

Music for Harp

  • Opening Piece from "Glassworks"
  • Metamorphosis (1988)
  • Selection from "The Hours"
Lavinia Meijer, harp
Channel Classics CCSSA33912 Hybrid Multichannel SACD
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon JapanOrder Now from ArkivMusic.comFind it at CD Universe Find it at JPC

Ever been fishing on a boat, watching the waves flow under the setting sun? That's this whole disc, a harp recital of uncompromising tonal beauty that also doesn't do much in the way of drama. It's vintage Glass, which will either please or infuriate you, but the sheer gorgeousness cannot be ignored. Originally for piano, Glass' work translates naturally to the harp by way of his endless repetitions and chords. If an hour of generally calm harp music appeals to you, then this is something to invest in.

Yes, some of the pieces have a darker tone, and the titles themselves at least hold interest, but by and large this is wave after way of repeated motifs and sounds. And this works extremely well on an instrument such as a harp, where the notes simply carry you away. Glass certainly knew what he was doing, and each note carries with it a meaning and purpose. A lesser harpist might not convey that, but Meijer is a fabulous talent. She works magic by giving each note as much life as it can take, making the repeats sound less repeated and more naturally flowing, if that makes sense. With an stunning technique and obvious belief in this music, she makes the recital work.

As other respected critics have already pointed out, this disc probably could be used for anything from reading to falling asleep. That's fine by me, and I suspect that others will feel the same. What is undeniable is that this disc showcases as fine a harp player as we have the privilege of hearing today, in music she has an affinity for. The arrangements on the disc are Meijer's, by the way, and they are all very successful. The entire project is backed by simply ravishing sound, sound that I suspect sounds even richer if you have a Super-Audio player. I do not, but rest assured that in any format and by any metric the sonic quality is first-class. So prepare for that next long bus trip, flight, or sleepless night. Just be sure you have this disc on hand when you do.

Copyright © 2013, Brian Wigman