Notes and Editorial Reviews
Jennifer Hoult (hp)
JAH Music, no number (62: 49) Available from cdbaby.com/Artist/JenniferHoult.
Traipsin’ Thru Arkansas.
Sarabanda e Toccata.
Une Châtelaine en sa tour. Romance sans Paroles.
Carnival of Venice.
Claire de lune
Here we have one of those truly magical recordings that come along occasionally yet all too rarely, a gift of the heart from a true individualist sadly ignored by the major labels. Such a disc was cellist Zuill Bailey’s first CD, eventually issued on Denon, which he produced himself. Another was pianist Jill Crossland’s simply remarkable interpretation of Bach’s complete
on Signum (which I reviewed in
32:2 and 33:4). I need not mention that Sharon Rostorf-Zamir’s first Lieder recital on Romeo Records (
31:5) simply blew me away when I reviewed it.
Perhaps by the very nature of her instrument, Jennifer Hoult benefits from the intimacy of hearing her on a recording in the comfort and smallish space of one’s living room, and I think she fully realized what she could do with such a semi-captive audience once the Play button was hit. She presents a smorgasbord of styles and moods so perfectly programmed that one is entranced from start to finish. Any meany-andrew out there grumbling about listening to “some lady harpist playing trifles” had better think again once this CD is finished, because Hoult so clearly
her instrument, loves the music she plays, and enjoys tweaking her invisible audience by alternating little-known or complex pieces with all-time favorites that you can’t help but smile listening to her, and when the record is finished playing, you are in a better mood than when you started. I promise you will. And how could any CD be better than that?
One piece took me so much by surprise, in fact, that I burst out laughing. It seems that Carlos Salzedo’s
Traipsin’ Thru Arkansas
is a rewriting of that old pioneer and prospector favorite of the 19th century,
. Hoult’s tongue is planted so firmly in cheek that as you listen you can almost see her watch you to see you smile, and smile in return when you recognize it. I can’t say enough about her playing, as mood surpasses even technique, which is formidable. I hope she will not take it wrong when I compare her to Harpo Marx—who was, in fact, an outstanding self-taught musician who learned some of the serious harp literature after he retired from the movies. If there ever was a harpist who hypnotized his audience and made them smile every time he touched his instrument, it was Harpo.
For liner notes, Hoult uses a fairly long quote from Proust’s
Remembrance of Things Past
about music, “in which the sounds seem to follow the very movement of our being, to reproduce that extreme inner point of our sensation which is the part that gives us that particular exhilaration which we experience from time to time.” The sentence goes on a lot longer, as Proust’s sentences usually do, but you get the point. At least, I hope you do.
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Works on This Recording
Toccata for Harpsichord by Jean-B Loeillet
Jennifer Hoult (Harp)
Written: London, England
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