Classic Performances, aging but still good sound
Vinophile | Miami, FL USA | 06/22/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nicano Zabaleta was perhaps the first of the superstar virtuoso harpists of the stereo era and his recordings remain touchstones of unhurried virtuosity coupled with elegant musicianship. These performances are beginning to show their age a bit in sound, but the performances are luminous. The Boieldieu Concerto is seldom encountered in concert, but what a lovely, melodic and enchanting work. Today, Marielle Nordman and Marisa Robles both have very fine recordings of the concerto, but Zabaleta's is still worthy, and in this package, quite a bargain. The Albrechtsberger concerto is equally unfamiliar to many listeners and also a charmer, and the performance of the Handel concerto offered in a warm style that may seem a bit old fashioned by today's Original Instrument crowd, but it is highly persuasive. The Debussy and Ravel pieces are given appealing performances, again somewhat large scale compared to some of the chamber performances in the catalog, but brilliantly played.The only weak link is the Mozart concerto, and weak only because there are so many good performances of the piece now available. I find the performance a bit stiff, but given the other recordings in this set and the low price, it's still a definite find for anyone who loves music for harp and orchestra."
A full 145 minutes of wonderful harp and orchestral music
C. B Collins Jr. | Atlanta, GA United States | 10/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I certainly realize that this is an older recording but this is also an absolutely wonderful collection of some outstanding works for the harp played by Nicanor Zabaleta. There are 8 composers represented, each with an outstanding composition for harp and orchestra. I have never tired of listening to this CD over the last 20 years, it is rich and varied.
Georg Friedrich Haendel's Concerto pour harpe et orchestre en si bemol majeur, op. 4 no. 6 has been a favorite of mine for over 20 years. It immediately transports me into a state of serenity. It is utterly beautiful with the wonderful support for the harp with the string instruments of the orchestra. The movements remain light, floating, and flowing.
Johann Georg Albrechtberger's Concerto pour harpe et orchestre en ut majeur is a perfect piece to follow the Handel piece since it has more integration of the orchestra into the piece but the harp holds its own amongst the orchestral textures. The influence of Handel seems evident, but this is not meant as a negative comment. On the contrary, the for six movements of this CD moving from Handel to Albrechtsberger is seemless.
Karl Ditters Von Dittersdorf's Concerto pour harpe et orchestre en la majeur has a Mozart sound with flowing harp scales supported by the orchestra. The piece ends with Rondeau: Allegretto that is upbeat energetic and fun. This is a great movement to have in the very center of the CD side 1 to keep the guest awake at your next party.
Maurice Ravel's Introduction et Allegro pour harpe, guatour a cordes, flute et clarinette is very different from the three composers that preceed him on the CD. They are baroque, full of flourish and fun. When we hear Ravel, the mood changes to lush romance.
Claude Debussy's Danses pour harpe et orchester a cordes is less lush and moody romantic like the Ravel piece that preceeds it. However the first movement, Danse scree, is somewhat minimal and almost experimental in its lack of flourishes. In the second movement, Danse profane, I thought of Aaron Copeland compositions for the ballet.
Mozart's Concerto pour flute, harpe et orchestre en ut majeur, K. 299 is well done with Karlheinz Zoeller on the flute in all movements. The second movement, Andantino, is sublime. The third movement, Rondeau Allegro takes off like a rocket, with the harp and flute taking turns in center stage.
Francois-Adrien Boteldieu's Concerto pour harpe et orchestre en ut majeur offers the most pensive piece on the CDs in the second movement Audante-Lento-Allaca. Reverent and well constructed, the piece is only a bit melancholy.
Joaquim Rodrigo's Concerto-Serenade pour harpe et orchestre is upbeat and fun in the first and third movements and pensive in the second, with wonderful compliments between the harp and woodwind instruments.
This is an amazing collection of music, 8 composers are included, and the range of works is impressive and enjoyable. I would strongly recommend this CD."
Harp for meat lovers.
J. Kara Russell | Hollywood - the cinderblock Industrial cubicle | 04/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a weighty and meritorious collection of orchestral works featuring harp. As someone who has always loved harp, a begginning harpist, looking for a broad base of serious harp music this is essential listening for me.
This collection is transporting. Styles and preferences come and go in the classical music world and the world of record production, but this collection is solidly timeless. A great overview, resource, and tremendous listening pleasure."