Just back from a pleasant jaunt down to London to see a harp concert at the Forge venue in Camden by Keziah Thomas, who was premiering a piece that she commissioned from my husband, Andy.
She played a very ambitious programme to a room packed full of harpists, which must have been pretty daunting!
The programme was, Suite for Harp by Benjamin Britten, The Pearl Divers by Douglas Gibson, American Harp by Elie Siegmeister, Crossing Waves by Andy Scott, Tanzmusic by Glenn Buhr and Spiders by Paul Patterson.
Keziah did a fabulous job with Andy's piece and I especially enjoyed the Glenn Buhr and Paul Patterson pieces.
This is probably a controversial thing to admit in public....... but I really don't like the Benjamin Britten Suite. I was trying to listen to it tonight with a "fresh pair of ears" and to put my long held reservations about the piece to one side.
Unfortunately the performance tonight just confirmed what I always thought, and that the only reason it is performed is because it is by Benjamin Britten. I am a great fan of his music, but the Suite for Harp is just not a good piece of music. Because there is less music written for the harp compared with other instruments, some pieces, and especially pieces by "name" composers are played more than they deserve to be.
Hopefully with harpists like Keziah commissioning new music and breathing new life into the harp repertoire then harpists in years to come will have a real choice of (and this is the crucial point) music to programme.
In the end, it's all about the music.
I'm working on 3 separate recital programmes at the moment for concerts which I have coming up.
I think that is just about my limit before my head starts to implode!
Most of the past few months has been taken up with the concert series which I have been working on setting up. I did all the applications some months back and fantastically we got all the funding, which was amazing especially in this economic climate. I'm chair of the society and Andy is the artistic director, and it has really taken off with lots of people now involved.
As well as a one hour concert by professional musicians, there is also an art exhibition which is open to anyone in the community, a 30 minutes spotlight concert featuring talented young musicians from the area and raffle with money raised going to local good causes. A full seasons listings plus more information about the series on the website.
Special thanks to everyone who has pulled together to make the concert series happen and especially to Caroline who has (and continues to) work her socks off getting everything ready.
I was so glad when I came across these videos on the web. They are really well demonstrated and there is lots more info about harp care on Steve's site here
Tying a harp sting with an anchor, 0-3rd octaves by Steve Moss
Tying a harp string without an anchor, 4th and 5th octaves by Steve Moss
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