Elisa Netzer

Toccata

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Elisa Netzer's 2018 Naxos release, Toccata, is a collection of virtuoso pieces in which the Swiss harpist demonstrates her phenomenal prowess on the instrument. The toccata, a term derived from the Italian toccare or to touch, has primarily been employed as a form for the keyboard, but its characteristic runs, arpeggios, and intricate figurations work equally well on the harp, though the difficulty is often compounded by chromatic pitch changes controlled by pedals. Netzer has chosen two examples from the early era of the toccata, Alessandro Scarlatti's Toccata No. 9 in G minor, and Pietro Domenico Paradisi's popular Toccata from the Sonata for keyboard No. 6 in A major, both in Netzer's own arrangements, though the majority of her program consists of modern works that present many greater challenges. Aram Khachaturian's Oriental Dance and Toccata, selected from his Album for Children No. 2 and arranged by Russian harpist Vera Dulova, and Joaquín Turina's Tocata y Fuga, Op. 50, arranged by Spanish harpist Nicanor Zabaleta, were originally written for piano, yet Netzer's skillful performances make them feel utterly idiomatic and natural to her instrument. The rest of her program offers modern and contemporary works composed specifically for the harp, such as Ami Maayani's Toccata, Virgilio Mortari's Sonata prodigio, and Nino Rota's Sarabanda e Toccata, while Swiss composer Stephan Hodel's Toccare for harp solo was composed to display Netzer's talents and employs some advanced harp techniques. This varied program is enhanced by the acoustics of Auditorium Steiner in Origlio, Switzerland, which captures even the softest details with clarity.

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