Jacinta Dennett, harp Move Records MCD 630


Written by Paul Cooke

Jacinta Dennett is an Australian harpist, and this album gathers a number of compositions for solo harp by Australian women composers. They range chronologically from Peggy Glanville-Hicks’ Sonata for harp, written in 1950-51 for the Spanish harpist Nicanor Zabaleta and still performed by him more than 30 years later, to a work commissioned by Dennett, Alicia Grant’s Three pieces for harp, a depiction of a coastal environment. Other pieces which evoke aquatic themes are Miriam Hyde’s Sunlit waterfall and Johanna Selleck’s Spindrift. These are balanced by Eve Duncan’s sparse and stifling The sun behind it, burning it, and Elena Kats-Chernin’s spooky Chamber of horrors. The title track, Fable, is a 1967 work by Helen Gifford: while it is a technical tour de force, the harmonics, glissandi, and other effects allow the composer ‘to suggest the mystery of an old legend, to conjure up the magic in fabled places, or the splendour of another age’. Comprehensive liner notes allow the listener to appreciate the different techniques employed to create a variety of moods.