Virtuoso harpist Magdalena Hoffmann has released her new album Nightscapes inspired by the intimate, mysterious, magical world of night music and dance. She explained, “In the music on this album, I wanted to use the harp to tell different nocturnal stories, to dance through the night and dream the night away.”
Nightscapes includes Britten’s Suite for Harp, one of the central works of the harp repertoire, Nocturnes by Field, Chopin and Clara Schumann, and miniature masterworks by Respighi, Pizzetti and Hersch. The album features both original pieces for solo harp and compositions for piano, transcribed by Magdalena Hoffmann.
“At night everything becomes more intimate, more deeply felt …”
The compositions chosen by Magdalena Hoffmann portray a multitude of nightscapes, from those we can see to those we know by intuition. “At night everything becomes more intimate, more deeply felt, more multilayered,” she observed. “The darkness encourages an inward gaze, while the soul stretches its wings – and so does the imagination. Whether in dreams or during sleepless nights, the limitations placed on our minds by the (every)day begin to melt away.”
The harp “creates a special space for this nocturnal intimacy”
Magdalena Hoffmann’s new album Nightscapes opens with Respighi’s atmospheric Notturno in G flat major and includes two Nocturnes for piano by the genre’s inventor, John Field, Clara Schumann’s Notturno, Britten’s five-movement Suite for Harp (1969), which is built around an otherworldly central Nocturne, and Nocturne for the Left Hand Alone by American jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch which builds a bridge to the present and offers a different perspective of the night. The album closes with Chopin’s Nocturne in F sharp minor Op. 48 No. 2, an ideal source of solace for the insomniac’s troubled soul. Magdalena Hoffmann said, “My instrument creates a special space for this nocturnal intimacy, but also for the fantastical and magical.”
Magdalena Hoffmann has also chosen to include a number of dances, sparked by harpists’ dance steps on the pedals, including three waltzes by Chopin as well as two original works for harp: Tournier’s La Danse du Moujik and fellow French virtuoso harpist Henriette Renié’s magical Danse des Lutins.
Magdalena Hoffmann constantly expands the conventional harp repertoire. In addition to her work as soloist and chamber musician she is also the principal harpist of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. “The harp has always been the poet’s and the storyteller’s instrument,” Magdalena observed. “It’s a wonderful vessel for adventures of the imagination”.
Buy or stream Magdalena Hoffmann’s new album Nightscapes here.