French Reflections, Sivan Magen's 2015 release on Linn Records, is a pleasant collection of music for harp, presented in the multichannel hybrid SACD format for the best possible sound. The selections range from late-Romantic and impressionistic pieces by Gabriel Fauré and Claude Debussy to modern works by André Caplet and Marcel Lucien Tournier, and the program includes contemporary compositions by Philippe Schoeller and Bruno Mantovani, demonstrating that the modern harp repertoire is still thriving with new ideas and new works. Most listeners will identify the familiar gestures in the two Divertissements by Caplet as being most characteristic of virtuoso harp playing, though the unusual sonorities and extended techniques in Schoeller's Esstal and Mantovani's Tocar show that harp music keeps up with the times. Magen plays cleanly and precisely, making every note fully audible, even at the softest dynamics, and he articulates inner details that could be missed among the sweeping glissandi and dense chordal passages. Anyone seeking a good introduction to harp music will find this album informative and delightful.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Sonatine, Op. 30|