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Fantasies & Impromptus / Lavinia Meijer

Release Date: 06/14/2011 
Label:  Channel Classics   Catalog #: 31711   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gabriel PiernéLouis SpohrCamille Saint-SaënsGabriel Fauré,   ... 
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

I’m delighted with this new disc.

I had to smile as I read these liner-notes, as they spoke of ‘raving reviews’ for Lavinia Meijer’s earlier discs; my reaction to Visions might just qualify, as I all but lost my critical marbles praising the performances and recording. I was so impressed I went out and bought Meijer’s debut album, Divertissements, so you can imagine how eager I was to sample Fantasies and Impromptus. Would this be another Recording of the Month, or even the Year?
The dark, oaken sound at the start of Pierné’s Impromptu-Caprice suggests it
Read more might. It’s hard to imagine harp playing of such refinement and character, or a recording that better serves this glorious instrument. Remarkably, producer/engineer Jared Sacks has ensured the standard CD layer sounds every bit as seductive as the Super Audio one, with a wonderful ‘bloom’ to the sound, the notes allowed to decay and diminish with great naturalness. Indeed, it’s that ‘air’ that helps this music to breathe, that brings us one step closer to the liver performance.
Technical wizardry wouldn’t count for much if the playing weren’t so distinguished, those grand flourishes apt to raise a few goose bumps. Just sample Spohr’s Fantaisie, to which Meijer brings a jewelled loveliness; I defy you not to be spellbound by this or the Variations on a theme, the latter essayed with what one can only describe as easeful elegance. Such a consistently high level of musicianship is rare indeed, and I doubt the Saint-Saëns Fantaisie has ever seemed so lustrous, those bell-like figures so like the sound of distant chimes.
But this isn’t just ‘pretty’ music, the Fauré pieces played with a masculine energy that I enjoyed immensely. It’s so easy for themed collections such as this to pall after a while, the ear starved of variety, but Meijer invests each of these pieces with enough personality to distinguish one from the other. That said, in terms of programming Visions was nothing short of inspired; that more diverse menu will surely appeal to those with a sophisticated palate, whereas Fantasies and Impromptus will tempt those with a sweet tooth. Still, there are some unusual dishes here, the Verdalle Impromptu and Snoer’s variation on a Dutch folk tune both new to me. Needless to say, they’re charming, the Verdalle possessed of a Satie-esque circularity that is most engaging.
As for the Roussel, it’s like a tart sorbet after a rich main course; one can only marvel at how Meijer brings out the distinct and individual flavours of each work. She rounds off with Glière’s florid little Impromptu, the harp’s lower strings resonating most beautifully in the mix. So, despite the tiniest of caveats about the menu I’m delighted with this new disc and so will be all who enjoy this fare.
Smakelijk eten! 

-- Dan Morgan, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Impromptu-caprice for Harp in A flat major, Op. 9 by Gabriel Pierné
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer (Harp)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885/1900; France 
Fantasie for Harp in C minor, Op. 35 by Louis Spohr
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer (Harp)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1807; Gotha, Germany 
Variations for Harp no 1 in F major, Op. 36 "Je suis encore dans mon printemps" by Louis Spohr
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer (Harp)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1807; Gotha, Germany 
Fantaisie for Harp, Op. 95 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer (Harp)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; France 
Une châteleine en sa tour, Op. 110 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer (Harp)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; France 
Impromptu for Harp in D flat major, Op. 86 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer (Harp)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; France 
Impromptu for Harp no 2 by Gabriel Verdalle
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer (Harp)
Fantasie on a Dutch Folksong “Wien Neerlandsch bloed” by Johannes Snoer
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer (Harp)
Impromptu for Harp, Op. 21 by Albert Roussel
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; France 
Impromptu for Harp by Reinhold Gliere
Performer:  Lavinia Meijer (Harp)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 

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