This album explores that rarity of the classical repertoire, the harp concerto. The musical characteristics of the harp can provide somewhat of a challenge for the composer if writing a concerto for the instrument, but this album boasts two wonderful examples that show seemingly endless possibilities.
Frenchman François-Adrien Boïeldieu (1775-1834) was probably best-known for his 40 operas. After developing a close friendship with Sébastien Érard, the piano maker, who was investigating and implementing improvements to the harp mechanism, Boïeldieu began to write pieces for the harp. With the lyricism of the instrument showcased in the second movement Andante, over slow-moving strings, and fast finger-work dominating the Allegro agitato finale, Boïeldieu’s concerto stands in marked contrast to that of Alberta Ginastera’s. Here, after a fiery, almost aggressive opening few bars, the music gradually progresses towards the eerie chromaticism in the second movement. An extended virtuosic solo cadenza then marks the beginning of the finale, in which a series of tense chords hail the abrupt ending of the piece.
The concertos are performed by Jutta Zoff, who was at the peak of her glittering career at the time of recording. The German harpist had been a favourite soloist of the Staatskapelle Dresden since 1967 and enjoyed tours of Europe, the USA and the Middle East. The orchestra is conducted by Siegfried Kurz.
Recorded in April and May 1981 at Dresden’s Lukaskirche.
"...The French composer sounds late-classical-early-romantic; its very pleasant music..."
Donald Vroon - American Record Guide - January/February 2014