L'arpa notturna - Plank

L'arpa notturna - Plank

Ars Produktion  ARS 38 229

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental

Franz Liszt: Le rossignol
Paul Hindemith: Harp sonata
Michail Glinka: Nocturne
Wilhelm Posse: Variations on 'Der Karneval von Venedig'
Ani Maayani: Maqamat
Nino Rota: Sarabanda e Toccata
Franz Schubert: Nachtstück in C minor, D. 672
Henriette Renie: Légende d'apres 'Les Elfes' de Leconte de Lisle

Elisabeth Plank (harp)

The young Austrian harpist Elisabeth Plank has already won several awards at international competitions – the latest one, a Primo premio assoluto, in April 2016 at the international competition 'Musica Insieme'. For her debut CD, she has selected a varied program that is intended to give an insight into the variety of the harp repertoire - even away from typical sounds.

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Reviews (1)

Review by Adrian Quanjer - April 13, 2017

Without denying the importance of composers like Mozart, the harp was for a long time merely seen as a kind of hobby instrument for salon artists, playing the sort of music that fits this bill. But over the years, and under the influence of some obvious French advocates like André Jolivet and Darius Milhaud, the harp gained universal appreciation as a solo instrument, coming finally off age with modern composers like Kalevi Aho, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Alan Hovhaness and Henry Cowell, using to the full the capabilities of the harp in terms of sonority and expressiveness.

And though many harpists still earn their living in the environment of a symphony orchestra, more and more names can now be added to the list of young musicians having the talent and required perseverance to take on the challenge of building a solo career. Frau Plank, a young harpist from Austria, is one of them. After obtaining the ‘Young Celebrity Master Award’ at the 2014 Harp Masters festival in Switzerland, her name obtained international recognition. Contemporary repertoire is, so she says in the liner notes, an area of particular interest of hers. She is the dedicatee of compositions from young composers like Andreas Wykydal (Sonatine for solo harp) and Onur Dülger (concerto for solo harp, ensemble & electronics). It made me all the more curious to listen to what she has to ‘say’.

On this debut disc she has, clearly taking into account general interest, chosen to limit herself to more traditional fare, whereby she not only gives a cross section of her solo repertoire, but also what her harp (a pedal harp, made by Lyon & Healy, USA) is capable of handling. And since most of the pieces refer to or are connected with the night, the title ‘L’harpa Notturna’ seemed a logical choice.

Plank’s playing demonstrates her considerable versatility in tone and touch, drawing an impressive sound from her instrument, faithfully captured by Manfred Schumacher and his team. Some of the works are originals, some not so well known as others, whereas a couple are arrangements, like Franz Liszt (Le rossignol) and Franz Schubert (Nachtstück). And the ear of the lesser informed music lover will surely be pleased with Wilhelm Possi’s ‘Carnival of Venice Variations’ (the three corners of my hat). Altogether an interesting programme, and not only for late night listening.

Elizabeth Plank now stands next to Marielle Nordmann (La harpe française) and Lavinia Meijer (Divertissements) on my SACD shelves.

There is one thing I’m less happy about and that is the surround. I find it difficult to pin point the placement of the harp as it comes, at least in my surround setup, from everywhere. Some may like a total surround immersion. But I would have wished the surround speakers having been tuned down to ‘ambiance’ level. This is, of course, of no concern whatsoever to stereo only listeners.

Normandy, France

Copyright © 2017 Adrian Quanjer and


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