Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Paris harp joy

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!

utter joy!!

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.

Friday, 6 August 2010

midi harp

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

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

trusty steed

I've clocked up a substantial amount of miles in my car past month, with just short of 1,000 in 4 days last week!

I have a Volvo V70 estate, which I bought second hand a few years back and it's the first Volvo I've owned. What a brilliant car, it fits the harp in with loads of room for other gear and is so comfortable to drive.

So considering the very silly amount of miles it does, recently I've had to have 2 new front tyres, and new ball joint for the suspension and today I needed to get it a new battery. Which is not bad really.

Q. Where's the battery then in a Volvo estate? It has needed jump starting with jump leads the past 4 days hence me getting the new battery this morning, and I got a nice surprise when I opened the bonnet looking for the battery.

Thank goodness for smartphones and being able to google "where's my battery on a Volvo V70" when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere. There is a jump starting point under the bonnet, but the actual battery is not there.

A. In the boot of course. Lift up the little seats in the boot space, lift up the flooring and it's under there silly!