Victor Carr Jr.
, April 2001
"Because many harp CDs feature transcriptions, soothing background arpeggios, and new age pluckery, we tend to forget that there's a big, wide, wonderful world of original solo harp works waiting to be embraced and enjoyed by wider audiences. Judy Loman, longtime principal harpist with the Toronto Symphony, has put together a recital of showpieces penned by 10 harpist-composers, all of whom wrote or write brilliantly and effectively for the instrument. These 10 works span three centuries and share a sense of emotional immediacy, textural inventiveness, and harmonic ingenuity that transcend mere virtuoso fluff. This applies to the tightly structured impressionism of Marcel Grandjany's Rhapsody, Carlos Salzedo's Scintillation, and the exotic evocations of Marcel Tournier's Images, as well as to Henriette Renié's shimmering étude Danse des Lutins. A pair of 18th-century sonatas by John Parry and Sophia Corri Dussek are especially appealing and tuneful, while the four-movement Classical Suite by Lyn Palmer (the only living composer represented) takes traditional dance movements like the Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue on an alluring spin through late Holst/early Britten country.
"With a wide array of colors and articulations at her command, Loman's assured, vibrant artistry makes the best case for each of these works. Her mastery in voicing the music's foreground/background components often gives the illusion that two or more harpists are playing at the same time. What is more, Naxos' engineering is every bit as gorgeous as Loman's harp playing. Unless you're a harp phobic, I can't imagine anyone hearing this disc and not falling in love with it."