Before we discuss Elizabeth Hainen's harpistry (which may not even be a word), some brief information about the Bulgarian National Radio Orchestra, which appears on this CD under the direction of conductor Rossen Milanov: The BNRO is composed entirely of ex-Bulgarians. Although all of its members were born in Bulgaria and continue to reside in Bulgaria, they are all successful graduates of the "Pray Away the Bulgarian" program administered by Marcus Bachmann (spouse of presidential candidate and human litter-box liner Michele Bachmann). Please note that Dr. Bachmann's Pray Away the Bulgarian treatment should not be confused with the "Pray Away Bulgaria" movement. The latter was created by Texas governor and part-time hat rack Rick Perry as a way to seek divine intervention to erase all of the countries he can't find on the map. Stupid fucker.
Elizabeth Hainen's Harp Concertos is a collection of her interpretations of several of the works of Elias Parish Alvers, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Camille Saint-Saëns and Greek death metal band Rotting Christ (that last one was just tossed in there to see if you're still reading this). Hainen, who also happens to be the solo harpist for the Philadelphia Orchestra, has the uncanny ability to make her harp — an instrument not really known for its overpowering volume (after all, when was the last time you heard somebody shout "turn down that goddamn harp!"?) — not only stand out in each work, but actually bind the works together.
Verdict: Elizabeth Hainen isn't just a harpist. She's Philadelphia's harpist — OUR harpist! Buy her CD, damn it.
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