Lavinia Meijer

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Visions Review

by Stephen Eddins

Harpist Lavinia Meijer's second solo album for Channel Classics includes works written between 1969 and 2006, and features composers from Great Britain, the United States, South Korea, and Japan. It's an attractive collection of pieces, and Meijer plays them with assurance. She is able to convey both the delicacy for which her instrument is known, as well as the raw strength that some of these modern works require. The Britten Suite, Op. 83, the oldest work here, may not be the composer's most profound statement, but it is certainly among his loveliest, suffused with an autumnal atmosphere, and he understood well how to exploit the harp's versatility. Spiders and Bugs, two suites by Paul Patterson, a student of Elizabeth Luytens and Richard Rodney Bennett, are pleasantly pretty but insubstantial pieces that don't deliver on the menace that their titles suggest. Visions in Twilight, an impressive work by American Garrett Byrnes, is mysteriously evocative, but it also creates a sense of high and sometimes unsettling drama, as if these twilight visions may not be entirely benevolent. South Korean Isang Yun's In Balance, written for Ursula Holliger, is also a substantial piece. Yun writes idiomatically for the instrument while incorporating, at least sporadically, a tonal palette more harmonically adventurous than that of the works that precede it. The CD closes with Takemitsu's Stanza II for harp and tape, which is bracingly astringent after the overall sweetness of the pieces that come before it, but which is also darkly atmospheric, with a surprisingly potent emotional punch. The sound of the CD is clean, with a strong sense of presence.

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