by Mike Telin
With sixteen recordings to her credit, one could wonder what harp music there could possibly be left to record, but once again the musical genius of Yolanda Kondonassis has prevailed with her latest release, American Harp, on the Azica Records label.
In her liner notes, Kondonassis writes, “The compositions on this album were chosen to highlight the range and dimension of the harp’s voice in American music from the middle 20th-century to present.” Indeed, the album showcases pretty much everything the harp is capable of doing — and that’s much more than merely glissandos.
The album visits eight works by such well-known composers as John Williams, Lowell Liebermann, Stephen Paulus, John Dello Joio, John Cage and Elliott Carter, as well as a ninth by the young composer/harpist Hannah Lash.
Three of the pieces are world premiere recordings. Lash’s six-minute Stark from 2008 opens strikingly with a colorful use of harmonies and melodic twists and turns — an evocative journey through the emotions of a “beautiful” nightmare. [Read more…]