Shopping Cart

0 Items in Cart
Fantasien

Sivan Magen

Fantasien

...a dazzling recital
CKD 441 (Linn Records)
Bookmark and Share

Compact Disc

$22.00

Studio Master (192)

FLAC 24bit 192kHz 2,034.1MB $24.00

Studio Master (192)

ALAC 24bit 192kHz 2,059.2MB $24.00

Studio Master

FLAC 24bit 96kHz 951.5MB $24.00

Studio Master

ALAC 24bit 96kHz 975.6MB $24.00

CD Quality

FLAC 16bit 44.1kHz 165.9MB $13.00

CD Quality

ALAC 16bit 44.1kHz 171.8MB $13.00

MP3

MP3 320k 44.1kHz 136.7MB $11.00
Prices shown in US Dollars



Listen

Tracks: Listen and Download

Format
Track Time Listen
1
Fantasie in E-flat Major, H. 277, Wq. 58/6

Fantasie in E-flat Major, H. 277, Wq. 58/6

Composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Soloist Sivan Magen
06:59 Play $3.40
2
7 Fantasien, Op. 116 - No. 2 Intermezzo in A minor

7 Fantasien, Op. 116 - No. 2 Intermezzo in A minor

Composer Johannes Brahms
Soloist Sivan Magen
04:19 Play $1.70
3
7 Fantasien, Op. 116 - No. 4 Intermezzo in E Major

7 Fantasien, Op. 116 - No. 4 Intermezzo in E Major

Composer Johannes Brahms
Soloist Sivan Magen
04:53 Play $1.70
4
3 Intermezzi, Op. 117 - No. 1 in E-flat Major

3 Intermezzi, Op. 117 - No. 1 in E-flat Major

Composer Johannes Brahms
Soloist Sivan Magen
04:25 Play $1.70
5
3 Intermezzi, Op. 117 - No. 2 in B-flat minor

3 Intermezzi, Op. 117 - No. 2 in B-flat minor

Composer Johannes Brahms
Soloist Sivan Magen
04:20 Play $1.70
6
Fantasie on Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

Fantasie on Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

Composer

Ekaterina Walter-Kuhne

Soloist Sivan Magen
08:02 Play $3.40
7
Fantasie in D minor, K. 397

Fantasie in D minor, K. 397

Composer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Soloist Sivan Magen
06:23 Play $3.40
8
Chromatische Fantasie in D minor, BWV. 903

Chromatische Fantasie in D minor, BWV. 903

Composer

Johann Sebastian Bach

Soloist Sivan Magen
07:45 Play $3.40
9
Ballade fantastique d'apres Le Coeur revelateur d'Edgar Poe

Ballade fantastique d'apres Le Coeur revelateur d'Edgar Poe

Composer

Henriette Renie

Soloist Sivan Magen
12:36 Play $5.10
Total Running Time 60 minutes Purchase all tracks 
$13.00 
Prices shown in US Dollars

Featuring transcriptions of works by J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Mozart and Brahms plus original harp compositions by the lesser known Henriette Rénie and Ekaterina Walter-Kühne, ‘Fantasien' is united by the theme of fantasy.

The SACD layer is both 5.1 channel and 2-channel. The Studio Master files are 192kHz / 24 bit.

Download includes - cover art, inlay, booklet

'Harpist Sivan Magen is a dazzlingly virtuosic musician...what isn't in doubt is Magen's musicality and brilliant technique.' Sinfini

Choice for the Curious: ‘I like Sivan's playing a lot on this...There is lots of interesting new music here.' Classic FM Radio

Disc of the Day: ‘Magen magics the listener into the Gothic horror story with dream swirls, violent tugs, inveigling melodies and an appreciation for Renie's feverish imagination.' Rick Jones' Music Blog

Harpist Sivan Magen dazzles audiences wherever he goes with his formidable virtuosity and demonstrably perfect technique. Recorded at the famous Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, ‘Fantasien' marks Magen's Linn debut.  The recording is a showcase of the modern concert harp demonstrating the powerful expression, dynamic range and sheer excitement this popular instrument can generate in the right hands.

Sivan Magen has recorded two previous albums, both of which received critical-acclaim; his Britten recital was listed in the New York Times' ‘Best Recordings of 2012'.  Praised by the press as ‘a magician' (WQXR, New York), of ‘unheard of depth of colours, range of expression and rhetorical flow' (American Record Guide), Sivan Magen is the only Israeli to have ever won the prestigious International Harp Contest in Israel.   Magen also won the Pro Musicis International Award in New York and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust's 2012 Award for exceptional young musicians.

 

FANTASIEN
The harp has always been an instrument of fantasy. From King David, Orpheus and the angels of the Italian Renaissance to the shimmering glissandi of Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé, the image of the harp is fantastical; it is one of magic, colour, imagination and charm. However, the modern harp - the double action pedal harp - is capable of much more than providing colour and charm. It is also an instrument of powerful expression. As demonstrated in each of the fantasies I have chosen here, the instrument can speak, sing, whisper and shout; move, frighten and mystify. While composers across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have used extended techniques and sonorities in their search to emancipate the harp from its ‘traditional' image, I have instead chosen to perform arrangements of a number of older compositions in order to stay as true to the great Germanic masters and the French and Russian Romantics as possible. Through a program united by the free form of the fantasy, I hope to show that, without departing from its ‘traditional' sound, the harp is an instrument capable of an astonishing range of expression and sound; it is much more than just the instrument of the angels.  © Sivan Magen, 2014

THE HARP
At the outset, the listener will note that a number of works presented here were not originally composed for the harp. In his essay In Defense of Transcriptions, the great harpist Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975) writes: ‘The practice of transcribing music from one instrument to another has a long and honourable history...it is not a musical question, then, whether to play or not to play transcriptions, but rather a question of exercising good taste.' Referring to the fact that the double action pedal harp (that allows the harpist to play in all keys) was not perfected until around 1810, Grandjany continues: ‘They [composers] did not have our harp, but we have their music!'

With the advent of this harp, much was made of the opportunities composers would have to exploit every possibility of a fully chromatic harp. However, little was made of the huge step in technical prowess that would be required of the harpist in order for the instrument to be considered alongside the piano. Yet, since the 1800s, a stratospheric rise in the harpist's technical faculty means that today, the virtuoso harpist may perform the most complex of scores, even the most difficult of those originally conceived for the keyboard. Sivan Magen has proven this, with his breathtaking reimagining of a number of keyboard works, placed alongside cherished pieces from the core literature of the harp.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Sonata in G Major for harp (1762), is a work that enjoys a central position in the repertoire of the modern harpist. This work is highly prized in large part due to the scarcity of meaningful original material for the harp from this period. That said, his Fantasia in E-flat Major, H. 277, Wq. 58, (1782), could almost have been written for the harp; its rich cascades of tone and delicate textures are wholly suited to the voice of this instrument. The free fantasia was one of C.P.E. Bach's great artistic preoccupations, and in his treatise Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen, he devoted an entire chapter to the subject. This form advocates the use of improvisational creativity, spicy chromaticism and modulation to remote keys, as well as an expansive metric freedom with cadenzas unimpeded by bar lines. C.P.E. Bach made a conscious move to initiate a change from the purely schematic ideals of instrumental forms and to connect the act of music making to sensitivity and the inner landscape. Here, magnificently figured cadenzas frame sweetly expressive central sections, punctuated by sighing chromaticisms which invite both listener and performer alike to indulge their fantasy. He sailed through uncharted waters musically and it is touching to read a letter from the composer to the music printer Johann Immanuel Breitkopf, in which he states that: ‘After death, one can see what a fantast I was'.

Johannes Brahms was no stranger to the harp, giving it glorious, euphonious treatment in the Vier Frauenchöre, Op. 17 for harp, two horns and female voice, and in Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45. Yet, as was the case with many great composers, he wrote nothing that exhibits the harp as a solo instrument. However, numerous commentators have mentioned that the expansive orchestral palette of Brahms' piano works often recalls the fluid timbral qualities of the harp, and the impression of a harp does indeed haunt a number of his works. The artist's selections from both 7 Fantasien, Op. 116 and 3 Intermezzi, Op. 117, come from a body of music that represents a marked departure from the classicist leanings of his earlier piano work. These works embrace an intimate nostalgia and mark the beginning of Brahms' late period of creativity. Yet, these short pieces are far from sentimental and, as befits this recording, their treatment of mood and emotional state are always fantastical.

The Intermezzo, Op. 116 No. 2 in A minor is a work whose implied sense of longing is both immediate and vivid; the languorous cross rhythms of the opening give way to a silvery ‘presto' where the triple metre is deftly blurred and there is a short-lived foray into more positive material in A Major, before Brahms returns to the poignancy of the start. The Intermezzo, Op. 116 No. 4 in E Major, with its silken treatment of voicing and register, is apt to create an impression of sweet reminiscence. The falling intervals of the upper voice seem to call out to the warm triplet activity of the bass, before escalating to passion and the fluttering of sixteenth notes, and ending in a reflective manner.

The Intermezzo, Op. 117 No. 1 in E-flat Major is prefaced by a verse: ‘Schlaf sanft mein Kind, schlaf sanft und Schön! Mich dauert's sehr, dich weinen sehn' (Sleep softly, my child, Sleep softly and well, it pains me to see you weep). The ensuing cradle song is suffused with folk-like inflection, around which the shades of night are drawn with the encroaching key of E-flat minor. The comparative turbulence of the middle section is created by the syncopation of the melody to the off-beats, and is suggestive of the fantastical dreamscapes of a sleeping infant. The animated note patterns of the Intermezzo, Op. 117 No. 2 in B-flat minor, as well as the distinctly un-classical failure of the tonic to appear in the bass until almost the end of the piece, give this piece a restive atmosphere. This fidgety character is briefly assuaged by a chordal motive that recalls the folk textures of the Intermezzo No. 1, before the work ends with the synthesis of these two worlds, and the finality of the tonic of B-flat minor.

Of the works composed by Ekaterina Walter-Kühne (1870-1931), it is the Fantasia on Themes from Tschaikovsky's Eugene Onegin for solo harp that is most often performed today. Published in 1909, it bears a dedication to her devoted student, Ksenia Erdely-Engelhardt (1878-1970). Ksenia later wrote of her teacher: ‘Ekaterina Adolfovna was a person of rare kindness and great culture; as a teacher, in my opinion, she had no equals. [She] took me under her wing, surrounded me with motherly care.' This motherly pedagogue, a student of Albert Zabel (1842-1910), also enjoyed an unrivalled career as an orchestra musician (as solo harpist of the Marijinsky Theater) and as a soloist. In 1892, at the age of twenty-two, Walter-Kühne became the first female musician in Russia to present a harp concerto with symphony orchestra on the public stage. Her performance of Charles Oberthür's then-fashionable Concertino Op. 175 was received warmly by critics, although one notes a reserved tone in relation to the harp: ‘To our knowledge, a harp concerto has never yet been performed at a symphonic concert [in Russia]; yet the harp appears a completely legitimate solo instrument, although outstanding virtuosi are quite rarely encountered.'

Yet, it was for her fantasias on popular operas of the day (including Gounoud's Faust and Verdi's Rigoletto) that won Walter-Kühne adoration in the fashionable salons of fin-de-siècle Russia. Until their more recent publication, these works were circulated in manuscript in their native Russia, leading to an interestingly varied performance tradition, each version associated with certain pedagogues and cities. Far from being trivial, the Fantasia on Eugene Onegin is beautifully and solidly composed: Walter-Kühne achieves a lissome rendering of the opera's melancholic string opening (Tatiana's theme), whilst the famous Act 2 ‘waltz' and the Act 1 ‘arioso' (wherein Lensky professes his love to Olga) are vividly realized in the harp's fullest register, couched in perfect harpistic figures and quicksilver arpeggio work.

Mozart's own contribution to the repertoire of the harp, namely that of the Concerto for Flute and Harp,bK. 299 is too well-known to dwell on here. But, as with the case of C.P.E. Bach's, one of the composer's most popular and recognizable works, the Fantasia in D minor, K. 379 finds wonderful expression on the harp. Also in common with C.P.E. Bach's Fantasia in E-flat Major, it is thought to have been composed in 1782, although it remained unfinished and unpublished at the time of Mozart's death in 1791. The sombre mood conjured by the opening leads to the haunting main theme, leant emotional definition by its pronounced use of the three eighth notes preceded by an eighth note rest, an established evocation of the sigh in the musical practice of the time. This is interspersed with three lavish cadenzas that escape the strictures of the tonic-dominant relationship and introduce whirls of chromatic colour. A sportive theme in the key of D Major provides a startling opposition to the prevailing mood, and the work closes in unexpected triumph.

J.S. Bach's Chromatic Fantasia, BWV. 903 (part of a larger work the Fantasia and Fugue, the fugue being omitted on this recording) is a work that is direct and profoundly moving in its emotional breadth and intensity. It stands fortress-like and totally unique among J.S. Bach's own oeuvre and amongst anything featured so far in this album. As with the works of C.P.E. Bach and Mozart already featured, it demands of the player extravagant scalic and arpeggiated figures in pyrotechnic displays: but rather than an invitation to personal fantasy and intimate reflection, its accumulative effect is rather one of extrovert, dizzying and almost architectural grandeur. In a roughly tripartite structure, the opening is a tour de force of virtuoso writing, whilst the inner section is recitativo, requiring bold, gestural playing, and rhythmic and expressive precision, whereas the third section cleanly combines the two in a surge of characteristic glory. As with a number of J.S. Bach's works, the Chromatic Fantasia exists in a number of versions, an outcome of J.S. Bach's eminent and universal suitability to performance on almost any instrument. It should be noted that the artist was inspired to perform this version for harp by the fact that the same work was transcribed for solo viola by Zoltán Kodály. Few could deny that Magen's harp suffuses this work with compelling fire and intense resonance.

Henriette Renié (1875-1956), a virtuoso, composer and educator of the highest order, is one of the most striking figures in the history of the harp. Her career had an auspicious start: a student of Alphonse Hasselmans (1845-1912) at the Paris Conservatoire, Renié gained the coveted ‘Premier Prix' in 1887, at the age of just eleven. While it was presumed that such an accolade would herald the end her studies, Renié returned to the Conservatoire as a student of composition; she was the only female student of Théodore Dubois. Renié's musical language is intimately associated with the style of the mid-nineteenth-century French masters such as Gounoud, Saint-Saëns and Franck and, though her music was for a time unfashionable, her works for harp have enjoyed a much-deserved revival in recent years.

As well as being a great musician, Renié was also a highly literate woman: not only did she leave behind volumes of diaries, written meditations and a wealth of correspondence, she also forged a fervent connection to literature. Based on Poe's gothic masterpiece, The Tell-Tale Heart, the Ballade Fantastique (1913) is a highly ambitious example of program music that helped free the harp from the unhelpful trappings of its salon repertory. The jagged language of the opening, with highly sharpened rhythmic gestures, establishes the narrator's nervous obsession with an elderly man whose cataract-ridden eye so fills him with horror, that it drives him to murder the hapless fellow in his sleep. Renié's masterful exploitation of the harp's every colour and technical resource, gives a nuanced, episodic rendering of the narrator's paradoxical affection for his victim (‘I loved the old man! He had never wronged me! He had never given me insult!'), the demonic whispering of his murderous urges, the infamous imagined-beating of a disembodied heart under the floorboards and, finally, the narrator's impassioned and rambling confession.

© Alexander Rider, 2014


Recording Information:
Recorded at The Menuhin Hall of the Yehudi Menuhin School, Stoke D'Abernon, Surrey, UK, 23-25 May 2013
Produced & engineered by Philip Hobbs
Post-production by Julia Thomas
Design by gmtoucari.com
Photography by Simon Powis, New York Creative Group

The Telegraph sits down with Sivan Magen
09 April 2014
Sivan Magen is trying to change the perception of the harp with his virtuoso playing, says Ivan Hewett
more >>

January's new Studio Master releases
01 January 2014
find out what was new on linnrecords.com in January 2014
more >>

Be the first to add a customer recommendation.

Please Login or Register to write a customer recommendation.
BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
'...Magen uses every means at his disposal to create a compelling emotional narrative that draws the ear irresistibly on.'
more >>

SA-CD.net
4½ Stars
'...fine musicianship and scintillating performances...'
more >>

ClassicFM 'New Releases Show with David Mellor'
Choice for the Curious: ‘I like Sivan's playing a lot on this…There is lots of interesting new music here.’


Rick Jones' Music Blog
Disc of the Day: ‘Magen magics the listener into the Gothic horror story with dream swirls, violent tugs, inveigling melodies and an appreciation for Renie's feverish imagination.’
more >>

Sinfini Music
4 Stars
'Harpist Sivan Magen is a dazzlingly virtuosic musician and in this recital disc has set out to show the flexibility of his instrument.'
more >>

09 March 2014 to 09 March 2014
Europe
Vienna Chamber Orchestra - Kozerthaus, Vienna, Austria, Europe
Sivan Magen

13 March 2014 to 22 March 2014
Europe
TBC, Israel, Europe
ICP on tour in Israel

28 March 2014 to 29 March 2014
Europe
TBC, Israel, Europe
Recital with Mikal Korman, cello

09 May 2014 to 11 May 2014
England
Menuhin Hall, Millfield Lodge, Cobham Rd, Stoke D'Abernon, Cobham KT11 3QQ, England, United Kingdom
Recording session for Linn Records

30 May 2014 to 31 May 2014
North America
TBC, New York, USA
Caplet Conte Fantastique Gotham Chamber Opera

07 June 2014 to 07 June 2014
North America
Chicago Cultural center, Chicago, Il, USA
Lyon & Healy Festival Closing Concert -