A fascinating talk by Alex Rider for the UKHA about Sir Arnold Bax, the chamber music he wrote for harp, and the pioneering English harpists who premiered his works.
It is really interesting to hear about the harpists who were working in London in the early 1900's and were at the cutting edge of music of that time, and also playing on the latest instruments of the day (Erards and the very early Lyon and Healy's).
This 1 hour lecture is brilliantly researched and presented by Alex Rider, and is divided into 8 seperate videos on YouTube. Included in one video is a clip from the very first audio recording of Ravel's Introduction and Allegro conducted by the composer himself, and the very shockingly fast speed the Allegro was taken at. It wasn't a case of the music being speeded up to fit onto the limited time of the early records, the Allegro is the speed the composer wanted!
The English harpists discussed in the lecture include Miriam Timothy, Sidonie Goosens, Gwendolen Mason and Maria Korchinska.
Highly recommended viewing
Some will go "wow" and some will cry.....
Me; I'm in the crying camp. All I see is a lovely Erard covered in black gloss paint ;-(
Fibre Optic Harp, designed by Craig jones "Light can be set to change colour when a pedal is pressed. Craig Jones says "The concept was to combine a traditional object with new technology and create a product which redefined its component parts and questioned their use within a contemporary setting." Find out more at www.craigjonesdesign.com
I'm presuming like the dead parrot, it was a late Erard with no hope of resurrection.......
If you are a sad harp fanatic like me, and the sight of that ex-harp makes you glum, here's a picture of a lovely Erard to cheer you up that will soon be available from harp restorerMichael Parfett's studios.
My last post got me thinking about posture and harp playing and teaching.
I was lucky enough to have regular Alexander Technique lessons for 2 years when I was a teenager, so I have grown up with the need for correct posture being ingrained in me.
I try to make sure that good posture is a fundamental part of my teaching and my students probably get fed up with me going on about it all the time!
It's pretty common place now for Alexander technique to be offered as part of a harp course and there are lots of links on the web, and also lots of harpists who have trained in Alexander Technique. I recently found this brilliant short article by Coralie Cousins who takes a regular class at the Paris Conservatoire for Isabelle Perrin. Beautifully illustrated with lovely drawings, it's certainly a good reminder of why correct posture when playing the harp is so important.
Very sad news of the passing of the harp repairer, Jim Munson on Christmas day.
This Pathe news video from 1961 shows a very young Jim Munson working in the workshop of John Morley. Click here to view this short video
I have very fond memories of making the long trek via public transport on my own when I was still at school in the 80's to the Munson and Harbour workshop when it was in Kentish Town in North London to buy my harp strings. Thinking about it now, I would never have let my kids travel that distance across London on their own at that age, but it was all different then... I would climb those stairs to get to the workshop on the second floor and see them working on all the harps, and then go into the side room which was stuffed floor to ceiling with sheet music and Jackie would put up with me spending hours going through all their music, even though I'd only have the money to buy a couple of strings!
ometimes you come across something unexpected that just puts everything in perspective.
I came across this wonderful audio slideshow interview with harpist Annie Mawson on the BBC wesbite. She founded a charity twenty years ago called theSunbeams Music Trust which works with children and adults with varying levels of disability.
A truly remarkable woman whose charity has been doing amazing things with music therapy in Cumbria for many years.
Click on the image below to watch the interview, it's wonderful.
A "pop video" from the late Forties - harpist Adele Girard and kooky dancer!
Lovely comments on YouTube about this video - worth reading!
That'll be the number of times asked those questions on a gig...
Lauren Scott is a harpist & composer and has been blogging on Harpyness for over 10 years.
If you enjoy reading Harpyness and you'd like to buy me a virtual coffee that would be very welcome. Cheers!