Erzsébet Gaál has put together a fascinating program of contemporary Hungarian works for harp, about half of them also involving percussion or electronics. The harp is one of those instruments that sounds beautiful almost no matter what it's playing, but these pieces are attractive in their own right and don't make heavy demands on the listener. György Kurtág is the best-known composer represented, with arrangements of 13 of the dozens of movements in Játékok (Games), his ongoing series of works for piano, two- or four-hands. Aphoristic is the characteristic most consistently applied to Kurtág's music, but even by his standards of brevity, these are tiny pieces, most lasting less than a minute. They are elegant and appealing in their variety, and they certainly don't wear out their welcome. Gyula Pintér's Night Piece, in which the sounds of the harp are electronically transformed into spectral echoes, is also especially effective. Institutio No. 1 for solo harp by Péter Zombola is a lovely piece, gently and lyrically evocative. The only work that doesn't succeed is Máté Hollós' wonderfully named Arpercussonata, simply because the composer is indiscriminate in piling in such a large and random assortment of percussion instruments. Hungaroton Classics' sound is clean and very present. The appealing repertoire and delicate performances by Gaál make this a CD that should be of interest to fans of the harp.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
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|Maracanga (marimbára és hárfára) (for marimba and harp), Op. 86|