Sivan Magen - Fantasien - Gramophone

Another extended (12'36") and colourful work by Renié ends Sivan Magen's recital 'Fantasien'. Ballade fantastique, written in 1913 and based on Edgar Allan Poe's gothic The Tell-Tale Heart, is 'a highly ambitious example of programme music that helped free the harp from the unhelpful trappings of its salon repertory' (Alexander Riley's first-rate booklet). Magen begins with his own arrangement of CPE Bach's Fantasie in E flat, Wq58/6. Listening blind you would swear that it was simply a work from the standard harp repertoire that had previously escaped your notice; likewise Magen's arrangements of four Intermezzos by Brahms, who, in common with most major composers, wrote nothing for solo harp. These make up for the omission. I urge you to hear Magen playing Op 117 Nos 1 and 2- and Mozart's Fantasie in D minor, K397, a work surely indebted to CPE Bach. Harpophiles and bravurafanciers in general will not fail to fall for the Fantasie on Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin by the Russian harp virtuoso Ekaterina Walter-Kiihne (1870-1930). Magen seems destined to be the Zabaleta de nos jours, with a paintbox of colours allied to fabulous dexterity and nuanced phrasing. The recording (Philip Hobbs in The Menuhin Hall) has real presence and depth. 

26 August 2014