Isabelle Moretti

Cantare

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The title Cantare here refers not only to the voice but also to the harp of Isabelle Moretti, who has brought together a group of pieces transcribed from vocal models. Vocal tracks by veteran English soprano Felicity Lott serve to set off the solo harp tracks, which are just about without exception fearsomely virtuosic. Moretti brings to life such figures as Anglo-French-Austrian harpist Elias Parish Alvars, whom Berlioz dubbed the Liszt of the harp, and with good reason, judging from the set of variations on a tune from Bellini's Norma included here. Many of these Romantic virtuoso pieces have been all but forgotten, and in many ways the program has the delightfully intimate feel of a recital from around 1890, with familiar tunes from Lott setting up the exertions of the harpist. Yet more modern music effectively adds new shades to the mix; Benjamin Britten's harmonically adventurous setting of The Last Rose of Summer leads in one direction, while Over the Rainbow (which Lott says she sings in the shower) goes in another, and a piece by folk-Baroque Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan in yet another. Lott, whose seventh decade of life has had very little effect on her voice, was the perfect choice for this project on Moretti's part with her longtime bent toward French music (and the heart of this program is French, whatever the putative nationality of the music). You can be assured that, even if the combination of harp and voice for you connotes what has been called potted-palm music, you'll find this album a total charmer. The transcriptions are by Moretti and others. Booklet notes and song texts are in French and English.

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