Imagine my utter joy when being taken away for a surprise short break in Paris by my lovely hubby and just around the corner from our hotel we come across this amazing sight.... I was peering through the window at night time when I first saw it!
So, the next day we went into the main harp shop which was 2 doors down from this workshop, and very generously the owner, Alexandre Budin showed me around his workshop. So many wonderful and amazingly historic harps.
I was like a silly kid in a sweet shop that had been given ALL the best sweets.
Alexandre was a total star and despite my chronic lack of French, he gave me a tour in English around the wonderful harps in his workshop.
So the show stopper that had me stop in awe in the window the night before was of course the Pleyel cross strung harp. I have never seen one in the flesh before. And he has TWO in his workshop.
Clockwise from centre, Pleyel cross strung harp (that Debussy wrote his Dance Sacree & Profane for), Erat harp, 2 single action Budin harps at front (made entirely from carbon fibre), the beauty on the left being a Japanese style Erard harp (only 7 were ever made and I could kick myself that I didn't get more of it in the photo, a stunner of a harp.)
So, Alexandre said the Japanese Erard unfortunately would not be playable when they finished work on it, but I'm pretty sure he said that this Pleyel would eventually be playable.
Just when it couldn't get any better (there was a Naderman harp!) Alexandre casually told me that the Erard harp in picture above (foreground minus strings) was unfortunately dead and would never be playable again but they kept it for sentimental reasons because it had belonged to Lily Laskine.
So - more about the midi harp in due course, as Sioned Williams will be premiering a midi harp concerto with the BBC S.O January 2011 that she has commissioned from Graham Fitkin.
What an amazing instrument! Here is Arnaud Roy playing on the midi harp.
I'm not personally a fan of blue coloured harps so good to see that Camac have just built a striking black & white midi harp
Lauren Scott is a harpist & composer and has been blogging on Harpyness for over 10 years.
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