Saturday, 26 February 2011

Albeniz paper in strings

Just finished doing some work with RLPO, a pretty full on programme of Spanish music with loads of harp throughout, and one of the pieces was El Albaicin from the Iberia Suite by Albeniz.

I hadn't played that piece before so I wasn't quite sure about the direction on the music Mettez un papier entre les cordes especially as I was playing right up to the last note in the previous piece and there was only a very short pause before the start of this piece. Which didn't leave much time to turn the page, change the pedals and then thread some paper through the harp strings! But checking with the conductor in the rehearsal he definately wanted the paper between the strings.

What a racket!

It makes a really loud, raucous and horrible sound. I was very unconvinced at the start, but actually by the end of the week I quite liked the effect.

However you need to play very quietly because it makes an incredibly loud sound which cuts straight through the orchestra sound. Plus you have to play extremely rhythmically with very full articulation with as much damping as possible.

Sounds a bit like a buzzing mosquito when you get it right and sounds completely rubbish when you don't!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Farewell to Stromness

I had a really lovely day yesterday. Andy and I were playing at friends wedding, and it was great combination of good company, good food and a fabulous setting.

So feeling rather fuzzy today, it seemed a good time to chill out and video Farewell to Stromness. I was inspired to learn this piece recently after listening to Ruth Wall's CD and especially wanted to play it on lever harp rather than concert harp.

I think the sound of the lever harp is well suited to this piece. Although the middle section is a bit chromatic and it would be a lot easier on the concert harp.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

for legal reasons

Complicated and very tedious story in a nutshell.

My Duo Mandala CD was originally released on Black Box records who were subsequently bought by Sanctuary group who were subsequently bought by Universal Music Group.

So who owns the rights to our CD?

Not had a royalty statement or payment for years and despite trying to chase up who owns the rights for at least 4 years, phone calls and emails have never been returned and just could never find out who to speak to sort this out and kept hitting a brick wall each time when trying to find out.

I've been in touch with other Black Box artists, and they have no idea either.

So last year, Ali and I decided that we were going to re-release our Tapestry CD ourselves so that it could at least be available on the UK iTunes and we could sell them after gigs.

After Ali died last October, I contacted all the composers on the CD and got permission from them that they would be ok with all sales and royalties from the CD going to Ali's memorial fund. All agreed.

What a surprise then to find that it's suddenly available on UK iTunes in December 2010 listed as being released by ASV!!! Up until then it had only been available in the US iTunes.

So if anyone from ASV reads this, could you get in touch with me to explain what is going on? I sent emails to you in 2009 which I never got a reply to.

I've put one of the tracks from the CD on YouTube, with the request that if the viewer enjoys it to donate to Ali's memorial fund.

Got a problem with that? Then sue me....

It's me and Ali playing, Black Box didn't pay for the recording of the CD and I have permission from the composers so as far as I'm concerned I'm not infringing copyright.

Hopefully this legal saga can now be finally put to bed.

It's a lovely track on the video and hopefully it will encourage people to donate to Ali's memorial fund which will help support future young musicians.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Andreas Niebisch

Just heard the very sad news that the harp maker Andreas Niebisch died suddenly last week.

Condolences to his family and friends.

Here's a short documentary of Sioned Williams playing some celtic music on one of Neibisch and Tree's small harps and shows Andreas building one.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

3 things you didn't know...

you needed - but wouldn't they be useful ?

I already (sadly) use not 1 but 2 heavy duty covers on my Salvi Iris as well as the column and base covers and of course the dust cover. My Iris is the fattest most overdressed harp in town. But maybe I should use these too..... belt and braces?

How great is this? Only the other day I was trying to sort out a harp for a student who had this problem and I could have done with this

Now this is a known unknown that I know I had no idea even existed, and I find ever so slightly scary.

mm - now I'm going to own up to having just bought the abrasive cord, but I think I'll pass on the stickers to decorate my harps...