Friday, 26 April 2013

Foden's project

Exciting news.....  my duo with soprano Anna-Clare Monk will be part of a collaborative project with Foden's Brass Band, Andy Scott and poet Lemn Sissay which will be performing at the South Bank and at the Commonwealth Games next year...

from a press release by Foden's...

"Foden's are pleased to announce that they have been awarded funding to commission a new work by the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial. The highly prestigious and high profile scheme will present a series of commissioned works from British composers across the UK in 2014, as Scotland prepares to celebrate the Commonwealth Games.

Organisations from all over the country were invited to submit ideas for commissions, and Foden’s Band made the successful application for a new work by their composer in residence Andy Scott and leading poet Lemn Sissay. Andy and Lemn have undertaken successful collaborations in the past, including the iconic My Mountain Top, which has proved to be one of Andy’s most evocative and widely acclaimed works.

The new commission will be premiered in the North West in 2014 and will feature in a hour long programme of works by Andy Scott and Lemn Sissay that will feature Foden's, Lemn, harpist Lauren Scott and soprano Anna-Clare Monk on stage (Anna-Clare and Lauren recently set some of Lemn’s poetry to Andy’s music to create several new songs). It is hoped that a DVD of the project will also be produced."  more here
I'm really looking forward to working with Foden's, they are a great band!
I've just finished editing a couple of new videos with Anna-Clare from a concert we did recently. As it's Britten's centenary year, here are a couple of Britten songs. Not the usual harp ones!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

That's what I call a dead harp

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 

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 restorer Michael Parfett's studios.

Alex Rider and Sir Arnold Bax

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

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Lara Somogyi Kickstarter

Nice little Kickstarter project by Lara Somogyi - I think Kickstarter is such a good idea. It's not easy to get funding for projects so it's good to see harpists getting out there and creating and finding innovative ways of funding it.

Harp and loops.... what's not to love about this project!