Live on Radio 3 tomorrow night (and available for a week on the iPlayer), I'll be playing this baby with Psappha ensemble. Quest by George Crumb which is an amazing piece full of evocative sounds, and it's the physically largest score I've ever had to play from!!!
(Quest is on in the first half of the concert and not after the interval despite what it says on the BBC website)
A real privilege to have been playing in the band for this one!
Steve Swallow's Ladies in Mercedes.... great piece and a great find on YouTube of this live performance from 1989 with Emily Mitchell on harp.
A lovely Christmas video - featuring Tine Thing Helseth on Trumpet, Birgitte Volan Håvik on harp and Elise Båtnes on violin.
I had the pleasure of playing this arrangement with Tine when she was special guest with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for their series of Christmas concerts a couple of years ago. It's a really well arranged carol and she is a really fabulous player.
This is the first year for some while now (8 years I think?) that I'm not playing with the RLPO for their run of Christmas concerts. This year, instead of doing RLPO carol concerts, I'm working with a fantastic group of players presenting special one hour performances of the film "The Snowman" with live orchestral backing. Before the film, it's a seasonal introduction to the orchestra and excerpts from the Nutcracker Suite. We are currently on the final part of the tour and it's been pretty full on with 19 performances of the Snowman (and the Nutcracker cadenza) in 7 days!!!!
The Snowman is such a lovely film and the music is so wonderful and perfectly scored. Some tickets are still available for shows this coming week if you fancy a seasonal treat.
Congratulations to Remy van Kesteren for winning the Gold medal in the 9th USA International Harp Competition!
I really enjoyed his Saxophone, Violin & Harp CD - Trio42... lovely music!
Wow! What an amazing arrangement for harp ensemble, and the playing from the girls is amazing.
Borodin's Polovtsian Dances (and yes all the chromatic sections) arranged for a large ensemble of lever harps. Watch their hands go - flipping the levers in the chromatic sections, all from memory. Amazing stuff.
Bravo to Magdalene Wong and her harp ensemble. Yay for lever harps!!
The Debussy Dances as a harp duo performed by Alexander Andrushchenko (13 years old) and Alisa Sadikova (9 years old) - May 2012, Düsseldorf, Germany
Regular YouTube harp viewers will have seen videos of Alexander performing since a very young age. A quick internet search shows that Alisa is a cousin of Alexander.
Alisa has extensions on the pedals of her harp as she is too small to reach the pedals. Most of the early videos of Alexander show him playing a concert harp with the same pedal extensions.
I can't imagine how hard it must be to play the pedals using those extensions, she does an excellent job considering how chromatic this piece is.
It is truly extraordinary to watch, a difficult and demanding piece for any professional to play.
But then my feelings as a mother kick in and I've got be honest, I don't know want to think.
My golden rule with teaching children has always been that they should start with a small lever harp and only move up to a concert harp when their feet can comfortably reach the pedals.
I remember when my son was very young he wanted to copy me and when I was out of the room he sat on my harp stool and pulled my concert harp back towards him to play. Luckily the harp (knee block) hit the window ledge which stopped it falling completely on top of him. He landed in a mess on the floor, but at least he wasn't squashed and injured by the harp falling on top of him. A full size concert harp is a damn heavy piece of kit.
But I digress.
The playing by the duo is truly amazing.
But I also find it difficult when I know the sheer physicality needed to play such a large instrument. If you need pedal extensions to play should you be playing a full size harp? A lot of comments on their YouTube site seem to find their size in relation to their harps as cute, but I then come back to how physically tired I can sometimes get when I play for long periods, and my harp is in proportion for my size.
But if a child has a passion to play, then .......
The Theremin has got to be one of the truly bonkers instruments - and incredibly difficult to play.
Here it is played by the grand-niece (?) of the inventor of the instrument, Lydia Kavina with the Radio Science Orchestra and the wonderfully talented Joy Smith on harps.
Not much for Joy to do on this particular video, but who can resist the Dr Who theme?
Happy Holidays ;-)
Another video to post of my trio ;-)
Caliente, with Clare Southworth on flute and Andy Scott on saxophone, playing one of Andy's pieces - Big!
I've been doing quite a few videos this past month to go up on YouTube.
Here is the first one!
It's the Ibert Interlude with my trio, Caliente. Clare Southworth on flute and Andy Scott on Saxophone...
I've just come across a really good article about Robert Maxwell on the jazz harp website.
I must admit to buying a copy of his Ebb Tide when I was a teenager (which I know is lurking somewhere in one of my music cupboards), but never really playing it as I found it too cheesy and preferred playing Misty.
Born in 1921, he studied at the Julliard under Grandjany and became a popular showman harpist and songwriter, apparently more popular in his day than Harpo Marx! Another good article about him here where his music is listed as exotica lounge - Nothing quite like exotica lounge harp - FANTASTIC!!!
Accidental Slip on an Oriental Rug by Robert Maxwell, His Harp & His Orchestra
brilliantly bonkers and of course Ebb Tide
Still not mad on the tune but great orchestration!
Before you ask I wasn't at Tatton Park trying to flog my harp....
My little stint on BBC Flog It which I did in May has finally aired on TV.
I played for 20 minutes in total, and 20 seconds was aired!
I love the unsubtle edit the BBC has done and must remember to do that next time I play the Dussek Sonata.
as you have never heard it before!!!
On googling Mario Lorenzi I came across this astonishing bit of footage (1:48) from 1947 of his playing of Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers. He makes the chromatic sections sound complete effortless!
It's a British Pathe film and the sound doesn't always sync with the recording, the close up of pedal work is quite funny considering the speed his feet must have been going at. However the sound recording is very good.
All that sound from an Erard.
Mario Lorenzi (1894–1967)
Lovely music from Affiniti who are an Irish Classical crossover trio with Aisling Ennis on harp, soprano Emer Barry and violinist Emer Barry.
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Lauren Scott is a harpist & composer and has been blogging on Harpyness for over 10 years.
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