Andalucía López-Chavarri y Marco
Cuentos y Fantasías El Viejo Castillo Moro [arr. Grandjany] Pierné
Imprompu-Caprice, Op.9 Glinka
A Farewell to St. Petersburg The Lark [arr. Erdely] Tournier
Sonata in C minor [trans. Salzedo] Bach
Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV998 Allegro [arr. Rodríguez Ríos] Mateo Albéniz
Sonata in D [arr. McLaughlin] Spohr
Fantasie, Op.35 Dávila Barreto
Medito Sobre un Vielo Gris (for Harp and CD) Hérnández Marín
Campanitas de Cristal [arr. Vidal & Rodríguez Ríos]
Lizary Rodríguez Ríos (harp)
Recording date(s) and venue(s) not advised
CD No: LIBRE PRODUCTIONS [No catalogue number] Duration: 59 minutes Reviewed: March 2007
Harp Voyage: A Musical Journey
Reviewed by William Yeoman
The harp is one of the most exquisite instruments ever invented, and this is an exquisite recording.
Prize-winning harpist Lizary Rodríguez Ríos studied at the Puerto Rico Conservatory, as well as privately with María Rosa Vidal, before continuing her studies with both Carrol McLaughlin at the University of Arizona and María Rosa Calvo-Manzano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid. In addition to her solo work, Lazary has performed and recorded with the Grammy-nominated ensemble, HarpFusion.
"Harp Voyage" takes us on a musical journey thought six countries that Lizary has visited and which for her evoke many happy memories. First to Spain, where Lizary captures the malagueña and cante jondo elements of Calvo-Manzanos Andalucía with great subtlety (though the deep song is perhaps too delicately rendered). López-Chavarri y Marcos El Viejo Castillo Moro (originally for piano), which recalls Albénizs Navarra, is full of colour and occasion.
Two French works then bracket Glinkas song The Lark: Piernés Fauré-esque Imprompu-Caprice and Tourniers Debussian Féerie. All are witness to Lizarys feeling for light and shade, allowing the sometimes contradictory moods in each piece to be reconciled while still admitting of necessary tension.
Four baroque and classical works then take us to Italy, Spain and Germany. Pescettis three-movement Harpsichord Sonata in C minor sits well enough on the harp, though the Andantino expressivo possibly outstays its welcome. The first movements similarity to Bachs A minor Two-Part Invention is striking, and it is to that composer that Lizary next turns with the Prelude from BWV998, originally for lute or keyboard but nowadays a staple of the classical guitarists repertoire. Lizarys playing here leaves me eager to hear the whole work on the harp. The following one-movement keyboard sonata by Mateo Albéniz is also a favourite with guitarists; it too receives a wonderfully nuanced performance though more prominence in the fanfare motif would have been welcome. Spohrs Fantasie, written for his harp-virtuoso wife Dorette, doesnt perhaps live up to its slow, dramatic introduction in purely musical terms, but Lizary makes a very strong case for its latent potential.
Puerto Rican composers Wanda Cècile Dávila Barreto (born 1983) and Rafael Hernández Marín bring the musical journey to an end in starkly contrasting ways. The formers Medito Sobre un Vielo Gris, composed while attending the composition summer school 'Magistralia I+C' in Gijón (Spain), is atmospheric and soothing; the latters song Campanitas de Cristal is full of delightful energy. As is Lizarys playing.
The recorded sound is ideal; Lizary has also provided notes on each work in the programme. This is a disc not only for lovers of the harp, but for anyone wanting a relaxing listening experience that is also of the highest artistic merit.