Harpist Sivan Magen is a dazzlingly virtuosic musician and in this recital disc has set out to show the flexibility of his instrument. Expressively, as the album name suggests, he plays to the harp’s strengths with a collection of fantasies – works which tend to be freeform, flowing, evocative, dreamy. For some tastes, this may sound like too much pudding, but the range of styles on offer mitigates against this. Most of the works – by JS and CPE Bach, Brahms and Mozart – were written for keyboard instruments and transcribed by Magen and the collection is completed with a work each by harpists Ekaterina Walter-Kühne and Henriette Renié.
Unlike a piano, the harp does not automatically dampen notes after they are played, giving fast runs a watercolour quality, an effect least welcome in the intricate but austere D minor Chromatic Fantasy by JS Bach. But that is the nature of the instrument, take it or leave it – what isn’t in doubt is Magen’s musicality and brilliant technique.
The recording, as we have come to expect from Linn, offers a close-your-eyes-and-you-could-be-there natural warm ambience, plus if you happen to have an SACD player, it offers both 5.1 and 2-channel options