Light Music Society

“Awake, O harp” is the title of a harp music CD from Divine Art (ddv24138) played by the talented young harpist Rachel Dent, in three cases with the discreet accompaniment of Manchester organist Ronald Frost: Miss Dent’s own transcription of Handel’s Harp Concerto; the charming, if static, Prelude-Berceuse by Oreste Ravanello (1871-1938) and the expansive Aria in Classic Style by French harpist Marcel Grandjany, owing something to Handel, who also figures, with his English contemporary William Croft, among the disc’s solo harp pieces.

Naturally enough, we hear music by several harpist composers: two pieces by John Thomas, Queen Victoria’s harpist, on Welsh tunes, actual or imagined and one each by Grandjany, Marcel Tournier and David Watkins. Watkin’s lively Latin American imaginative “Fire Dance” comes from his Petite Suite .

Not dissimilar is William Matthias’ Santa Fe Suite, especially its finale (and best movement) “Sun Dance”. Cheshire-born Roger Nichol’s Impromptu is attractive, bright and rhythmic. Most of the music is light and colourful, performances are accomplished and the recording, originally by Dunelm Records in 2004, very natural. Warmly recommended.

—Philip Scowcroft