Lynn René Bayley of Fanfare magazine recently posted a mostly appreciative review of Dancing on the Head of a Pin (DE 3451), Delos’ resident Marimba virtuoso Lynn Vartan’s recent and wide-ranging assortment of contemporary music for her instrument.
In describing the music, she singled out several works, including Guillaume Le Picard’s Abaca – describing how Vartan “…emphasizes the warmth and subtlety of the instrument, and that works in her favor in this piece.” She described Daniel Berg’s Blue Memories as “swirling” through different keys “…in a way that sounds consonant and consistent while still creating a melancholy sort of tension.”
Bayley was perhaps most taken with Csaba Zoltán Marján’s Niflheim, the title being the dark and frigid underworld of ancient Norse mythology – advising that the piece “…takes pride of place as the most complex and unusual work on this disc.” While originally written for brass and percussion, she thought that the piece “works very well in Vartan’s transcription for marimba.”
The marimba having emerged as a solo instrument only in recent decades, recordings of music written specifically for the instrument are quite rare, and most classical fans are unaware as to how subtle, expressive and appealing an instrument it can be. Let this marvelous album make a marimba fan of you!