What a marvelous, inventive recital this is! One of the great things about harp music is that even the modern stuff usually sounds good. Happily, most of the works here sound good because of their modernity, not despite it. Britten's Suite is the one piece that may be familiar to some listeners, but the real discoveries are the two works by Paul Patterson. Spiders ends with a wild tarantella, while Bugs is even more fun: a groovy first movement and a hilarious finale (Mosquito Massacre) in which the soloist has to attempt to kill the offending insect while playing the music--or rather, the attempted murder is written directly into the score.
Garrett Byrnes' Visions in Twilight is aRead more touch more conventional--atmospheric and mostly athematic, but the piece lives up to is title. Isang Yun's In Balance is one of the better works I've heard from this composer, an ear-catching alternation of simple motives and passionate outbursts. Takemitsu's piece for harp and tape sounds a bit dated now, as do most such works, but as always with this composer, beneath the sound effects there's a keen musical mind and a bewitching lyricism. As with her previous recital for Channel Classics, Lavinia Meijer plays the entire stunningly engineered program magnificently, with a rich tone and, where required, a bubbly sense of humor. And let's face it, not a lot of harp music is actually funny. Listen, and be charmed.