Lavinia Meijer

Fantasies & Impromptus

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There is nothing quite like the ethereal harp, especially when played by the talented Lavinia Meijer. This album features brief pieces of musical drama as well as tone color. Pierné's Impromptu-Caprice begins with a grand sweep, and then one can hear Meijer's artistic choices that create drama and urgency in the music by choosing her notes carefully and making use of dynamics. Cascades of notes float down, and one cannot help but feel that the piece is quite operatic in its character. The same could be said for the Variations on "Je suis encore dans mon printemps" by Spohr, which is indeed from an opera. One can practically hear the aria being sung, for Meijer phrases it beautifully and plays it very lyrically with legato. Also by Spohr is the Fantaisie, which has echoes of a virtuoso violin concerto (not surprising, as the composer was a violinist). The harp serves as both the orchestra and soloist, though Meijer truly shines as a charismatic musician on her own. Meijer is able to make the music speak, communicating it urgently or gently when necessary, as in Verdalle's 2nd Impromptu. This quality is also evident in the Saint-Saëns Fantaisie, with the contrapuntal lines each having something to say in this work of complexity. Of a different turn is the Fantasie über das Niederländische Volkslied, which was based upon the former Netherlands' anthem. The theme is presented very clearly and majestically, as an anthem should be, and Meijer plays clearly and confidently with a minimum of frills. It is a departure from some of the other works on the album, but certainly a lovely arrangement of the music. Roussel's Impromptu is a fascinating piece with echoes of non-Western music. Choosing among the best pieces on this album is difficult, like choosing one's favorite child, for Meijer makes each one so worthwhile and engaging. It is simply an album of high quality and great beauty.

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