Richard Rodney Bennett ~ harpyness

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Richard Rodney Bennett

Very sad to hear that Sir Richard Rodney Bennett passed away on Christmas eve. I had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times when my husband was performing his sax concerto for his 70th birthday concert at the QEH, he was such a lovely man.... a true gentlemen.

We spent an afternoon at his apartment in New York and I had a good chat with him about his writing for harp, including his trio for flute, viola and harp, "Sonata after Syrinx" (great piece) and he showed me his brilliant harp box tool which he always used when he was composing for keeping track of what key the harp was in as he was writing for it.

I've been making his little harp boxes and giving them to composers ever since as they are a brilliant aid for writing for harp - link to post here about how to make them -

I made a slight change to his design as with his, rather than have the pedals with flats at the top and sharps at the bottom he had his in reverse. When I pointed out to him that his diagram was the wrong way round to how the pedal box was on the harp, he replied, "my dear, I have them the logical way round, it's you harpists who think the wrong way round."

1 comment:

  1. Have taken note (thank you so much) of this crib. I was a fellow student at the RAM with Richard and played various concert pieces by and with him at 'modern' music concerts (I gave John Wallace the M/S of these pieces) as well as jazz quite regularly. He came to the Academy as if fully trained already! He hoped to be taken on further but the teacher's at that time with the exception of Howard Ferguson had no idea what to do with him. His eye heard and his ear read is the way I have always described him. Thanks so much for your note. Howard Snell