EMILY MITCHELL & FRIENDS FEATURING ARTURO DELMONI

Mozart Variations

(John Marks Records)

This disc opens with harpist Emily Mitchell's captivating 28-minute harp arrangement of Mozart's

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Classical CD Reviews

EMILY MITCHELL & FRIENDS FEATURING ARTURO DELMONI

Mozart Variations

(John Marks Records)

This disc opens with harpist Emily Mitchell's captivating 28-minute harp arrangement of Mozart's string quartet version of his Piano Concerto no. 12. With Mitchell's instrument captured unnaturally close in a recording that unites its rich resonance with the detail of every finger touch, the artist's delicacy, shadings, and sensitivity come to the fore. (Given first violinist Arturo Delmoni's tendency to occasionally produce thin, occasionally wiry sounds, his placement in the background is all for the better.) Mitchell also offers a harp adaptation of Mozart's Piano Fantasy in D minor, John Thomas' harp version of Mozart's Rondo Pastorale, Glinka's "Variations on a Theme of Mozart" from Don Giovanni, and a first recording of the restored performing edition of Spohr's Sonata in D for harp and violin, whose second movement is based on themes from Mozart's The Magic Flute. An enchanting program. Jason Serinus

HILARY HAHN ACADEMY OF ST. MARTIN IN THE FIELDS/NEVILLE MARRINER

Brahms & Stravinsky Violin Concertos

(Sony)

Hilary Hahn has given us a recording for the ages. The 21-year old violinist offers some of the most vibrant, energized, and moving playing that can be heard on today's concert stage. Aligned with the Brahms concerto's dramatic orchestral introduction, Hahn launches into its first passages with vigor. Then, as her arpeggios lead to the first inward statement, her sound becomes increasingly tender and loving, as though her violin is expressing the sound of a heart opening. This sense of intimacy increases in the work's middle adagio, Hahn's gorgeous tone growing rounder as Brahms moves deeper into his emotional core. The Stravinsky receives equally prodigious treatment. The first movement's toccata bubbles along whimsically; the second's aria is marked by a lyricism and pathos that make the joyous final capriccio, played with jaunty grace, all the more harmonious. On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a triumphant 10. Jason Serinus

LIONHEART

Palestrina: Soul of Rome

(Koch International Classics)

Renaissance polyphony frequently induces an elevated, almost mystical state of calm, peace, and reverence in the listener. Until now, my favorites in this genre have included the Tallis Scholars' Western Wind Masses (Gimmel), Chanticleer's Palestrina (Teldec), and, from the brink of the Renaissance, the Hilliard Ensemble's Dunstable motets (Virgin). To these is joyfully added Lionheart's compilation of 16th-century music by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, his compatriot, Constanzo Festa, and Palestrina's pupil, Tom᳠Luis de Victoria. The ensemble sings with an enviable, almost angelic smoothness. Every note is formed with attention, every word filled with a belief in the transcendent sanctity of the sonic tapestry. Well recorded in New York's Ascension Church, the group's resonant richness makes it hard to believe that only six voices are involved. That the 14 selections are similar in tempo and purpose adds to their soul-touching nature. Whether listened to in silence by candlelight or used as background for meditation, this is a truly captivating disc. Jason Serinus

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