What a great promo video for a concert...
and what a creative harpist Uno is.
A Norwegian harpist and composer, Uno Vesje has his Carnegie Hall debut coming up in March, and and is definitely a harpist to watch out for!
He has such a lovely sound, (and a stunning harp), a really brilliant website and I'm going to download his album now...
First performance of his harp concerto - watch out for the paper in harp strings half way through
This amazing looking harp caught my eye a while back...
Tyrolean folk harps are single action (with a rather loose tension) Austrian folk harps, with a traditional curved back. The playing on them seems to involve an extraordinary amount of damping whilst playing.
The lovely silver and black model is made by Extravagant harps and although I can't find a website for the harps themselves there is a rather stunning online catalogue which can be viewed here.
From what I can make out the harps are made by the Tyrolien harp maker Peter Mürnseer, but they don't seem to be listed on his website. However these models are promoted online by Barbara Plattner.... It's proving difficult to track down what the deal is with these harps, so I would welcome any feedback from anyone who knows!
However, they do seem to be for sale online here
I must confess to having not listened to Austrian folk music before, and what I treat I have missed out on!
***WARNING - this video contains offensive language. Don't listen if you are likely to be offended. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***
One of my favourite harpists, Lavinia Meijer playing "Cities change the songs of birds" composed by Jacob ter Veldhuis.
Otherwise known as JacobTV he has been described as the 'Andy Warhol of music' and this piece was written for Lavinia and caused a bit of an uproar when it was performed at the 2008 World Harp Congress!
To quote from JacobTV's website...
And at the World Harp Congress 2008 in Amsterdam the world premiere of Cities Change the Songs of Birds by Lavinia Meijer caused a scandal: the combination of beautiful harp sounds and heartrending monologues of female drug addicts in the streets of New York was too much for some of the audience. Kathy Elarte wrote: "The harp, as we all know, is an instrument of beauty, of worship... To see it in the center of this atrocity just goes towards promoting more hate toward American society and is, in my opinion, just another form of Musical Terrorism!"
Now I'm going to warn you again, if you are easily offended don't watch.
You might want to have a quick look here to see the lyrics that will be spoken throughout the piece first.
Lavinia is a brilliant harpist, and I think she performs this piece, brilliantly.
Whether you agree with the use of so much profanity within a piece of music will be to your own personal taste, it is certainly shocking... but that is what it is supposed to do.
I remember seeing the fallout of Claude Delange in concert playing a piece by JacobTV on saxophone and a distressed father walking out of the audience with his young teenage daughter appalled to have gone to a contemporary classical saxophone recital to then be confronted with the repeated use of 'motherf***er'.
As a mother of similiar aged children I did have sympathy with the father at the time. However, I am disappointed I missed the premier of this harp piece, I would have loved to have seen the reaction! Having listened to it now a few times it is certainly growing on me.
A harp.... made of buttons!
This astonishing piece of artwork is by Augusto Esquivel, and his sculptures are absolutely amazing!
I've been busy past few weeks doing new harp arrangements for my lovely students and have just finishing filming a few for my online students. Here's David Bowie's Life on Mars arranged for harp. It's quite chromatic so pedal changes throughout (but nothing too tricky pedal wise!) and it gradually gets more challenging through the piece.