Now available in 2-channel stereo SACD as well as the CD recording!
Since making Scintillation (CD-80361), her first highly praised recording on the Telarc label, harpist Yolanda Kondonassis has brought her distinctive musical artistry and a pioneering sense of invention to a series of unusual and appealing concept recordings. These discs have included many of her own innovative and idiomatic arrangements and transcriptions for harp of important works by a variety of composers. Most recently, she assayed the daunting technical demands of transcribing Vivaldi's solo violin parts from The Four Seasons for harp (CD-80523, with the Orchestra of Flanders).
Now she brings her unique talents to the music of contemporary American composer Alan Hovhaness (b. 1911), whose provocative works reflect the influences of early European polyphony as well as those of Oriental music and mysticism. Included on the disc is the world premiere recording of "Spirit of Trees," written in 1983, for harp and guitar. Hovhaness's use of natural elements as thematic inspiration provided Kondonassis with what she believed to be a special opportunity—that of helping to spread awareness of the need to protect our environment and our endangered natural rainforests. She has included a personal note in the CD booklet, in which she states "We, as a society, spend much of our time and resources on our literal and abstract legacies—family, culture, humanity, politics. All of these riches are valuable," she says. "But the question we must ask ourselves is: Where will those legacies exist if we use up our planet?" A portion of the proceeds from the sale of every disc will benefit the worldwide effort to preserve the rainforests.
Hailed by the New York Times for her "powerful playing and musicianly energy," Kondonassis holds a long list of national and international honors. The first harpist to win the Darius Milhaud Prize, she is committed to the advancement of contemporary music, and has premiered several works composed expressly for her.