Notes & Reviews:
Herbert von Karajan’s principal harpist Maria Graf Music by Spohr, Glinka, Alvares, Ravel, Smetana, and many, many more The harp’s sound-world has always inspired mankind to the most elegant descriptions. Many speak of poetic magic, of fairies and elves, of crystal-clear, sparkling sounds. All these facets come to the fore when Maria Graf sits down to play. Born in Munich, Graf made it to worldwide renown when she became Herbert von Karajan’s principal harpist – indeed, today there is hardly a concert hall at which she has not performed. On the present disc, however, she leaves behind acclaimed conductors and orchestras, and dedicates herself entirely to her own instrument: titled ‘La Boutique Fantasque’, her solo album is truly unusual, not just because of its instrumentation. It includes works by Louis Spohr and Michael Glinka, by Alvares, Prokofiev, and de Falla, as well as by Ravel and Smetana. Like King David, Orpheus, Achilles, and Heracles, Maria Graf is able to entice and enrapture her listeners with her solo harp playing. At times unspeakably delicate, forcefully majestic and playfully gentle at others, the soloist knows how to present at its best the exceptionally broad range of one of the world’s oldest instruments. Graf does full justice to the poetic descriptions which exalt in the harp’s magic, speaking of fairies and crystal-clear sounds.