—by John Wickey
Sifting through the dusty piles for harp gold.
There’s an oft-repeated quote from one of Beethoven’s letters decrying the lack of distinction between the music written for the harp and the piano. The master, clearly, was all for the advancement of the piano, but the quote has been used to validate the performance of piano works from the period on the harp.
Presumably, we borrow from the piano repertoire because the music is better, or better known, but the thing that has always puzzled me is this: If the harp was so popular in Beethoven’s time and so much was being published—where, oh where, is all the harp music?