Q and A with Catrin Finch

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Catrin Finch has just released a new CD, Lullabies, on the Deutsche Grammophon label. Read on for her thoughts about the project.

So, tell us about Lullabies
Lullabies is a recording of children’s classics and favourites, as well as some new original works. Its nice to do a CD devoted to children and young people for a change. It includes many guest artists such as Bryn Terfel, Julian Lloyd Webber and Aled Jones, and also includes the choirs of four local schools here in Cardiff. I thought it would be nice to include as many children as possible on an album for kids!

This seems like a departure from your usual recordings. What prompted the idea?
Inspired by the news of the Royal Pregnancy here in the UK, we thought it would be great to have an album of lullabies ready for the new arrival. It is a slightly different idea to the norm, but nevertheless one I have always been keen to do. As a mother of two young girls myself, I do spend a lot of time singing and listening to this collection of songs and music with them , and so thought it would be nice to have my own versions.

How did you decide on the material to be recorded?
The repertoire was mostly decided by the A&R rep at Deutsche Grammophon in Germany. However I did have some firm ideas myself on songs and pieces that I knew would work well on the harp.

Are they your own arrangements?
Some are my own arrangements, and others have been arranged by other people and friends. It was a nice process putting the album together with many colleagues in the music world. Everyone seems willing to put time in if it is meant for children!

What’s your favorite track?
My favourite track has to be the Brahms lullaby, which is sung on this album by none other than Bryn Terfel. It was such a pleasure to have the involvement of the guest artists and I feel very privileged that they gave their time to record for us. It is an arrangement for two harps (the other harp played by the current Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, Hannah Stone), Bass Baritone and children’s choir.

Your children are probably past the lullaby stage at this point—have you been able to observe the response to Lullabies on any other actual infants?
My youngest is still only 3, and so enjoys the odd lullaby or two! Haven’t had the chance to play it to many babies yet, but I have plenty of friends and colleagues with babies in the right age bracket, so should get a chance before long!

Any other recording projects in the works?
I just finished recording an album with a Senegalese Kora player called Seckou Keita. That has been another fun project that is very different from the classical world. It is all based on improvisation and traditional “Mandinca” and Welsh music—something to look out for later on this year!

Anything else you want to let Harp Column readers know about?
I am now composing! I am a student again at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff doing a Postgrad course in composition and loving it! This follows my debut recording and composition of the Celtic Concerto on my recent album with John Rutter called Blessing, and I have just finished writing a harp concerto based on the story of the welsh poet “Hedd Wyn,” which I will be playing this summer with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales in concerts here in Wales and Germany. I enjoy it very much and feel very liberated when I compose so hope to do a lot more of it in the future!!

Read more about Catrin Finch on her website, www.catrinfinch.com.

 

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