Floraleda Sacchi

Harp Dances

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Her recordings for smaller labels have been considerably more experimental, but here, for the major Decca label, Italian harpist Floraleda Sacchi attempts a revival of the rather hoary genre of the harp recital, putting together a program of Spanish and Latin American music further unified by its concentration on dance rhythms. That said, the program's appeal resides in its variety. Much of the music is arranged for harp from piano works, but there are several harp originals: those by Carlos Salzédo and the short Danza de la amapola of Rodrigo. There's an interesting tension between these two groups. The Salzédo pieces, rather dry evocations of dances from several period of musical history, are filled with special harp effects and are scaled to the capabilities of the instrument, but in the likes of the transcription of Ernesto Lecuona's fiery Zambra Gitana, heard here on the harp for the first time, the harp is in unfamiliar territory. Sacchi excels here: she can spin a web of notes in the harp's upper register, shaping them and keeping them distinct. She's a fine player with a sense for how harp music lies right between the concert hall and the hotel salon, and she has a serious, deliberate approach that pulls in an interesting way against the expectations of lightness in the music. The Italian studio recording is a disincentive. The harp is over-miked for no very good reason; clearly the harp needs amplification in a large concert hall, but harp music is designed for the salon, and the whole thing here would have been stronger without the close-up, harsh sound. Nevertheless, this is a fresh take on the harp recital.

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