The Mexican Harp – Janet Paulus Showcases New Masterworks

I’m always interested in recordings of Mexican and Canadian classical music. In my opinion, too few American music lovers are aware of the incredible music composed just outside our borders. And for some reason, finding recordings of said music in this country is also something of a rarity. 

Janet Paulus is the principal harpist for Mexico City’s Minería Symphony Orchestra. Over the years she’s developed strong working relationships with several Mexican composers. And has a deep knowledge of their music. 

The works on this release are all contemporary. Each of the three composers has their own style. And each has created music of real beauty and interest. 

Eduardo Angulo is the eldest of the three composers. After studying at the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague, he returned to Mexico. His 1982 Concerto for Harp and Strings, Op. 15 pairs big, lush themes with modernist pared-down harmonies. The middle movement is especially gorgeous.

Arturo Rodríguez enjoys an international career as a composer, conductor, and pianist. He also writes film music and knows how to convey emotion in an accessible style. His works are the most beautiful on the release.

None of the composers here have an overtly “Mexican” sound. Jorge Torres Sáenz studied at the Paris Conservatoire of Music. He has a strong interest in non-Western music. How to describe his music? It’s cosmopolitan and sounds like serial composition — tonal serial composition. 

Paulus is performing music she knows well by composers she knows well. This is an outstanding album for several reasons. The quality of Paulus’ playing is incredible. The quality and variety of these compositions are amazing. They show just how varied and important Mexico’s classical music is to the world. 

The Mexican Harp Volume One: Concertos and Solos
Janet Paulus, harp
Works by Eduardo Angulo, Jorge Torres Sáenz, and Arturo Rodríguez
Solistas de Minería; Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor
Toccata Classics

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