I believe I have found the world’s worst recorded harpist. Her name is/was (unknown if she is living) Akhna Akhantenskaija, a Ruthenian harpist. She studied in the Academic College of the State Conservatory Institution of East Berlin, and was or is principal harpist with the Academic State Radio Symphony of East Berlin. Her LP, translated as “Artistry” appeared on the Monitor label, priced at $1.99 in 1975. One side was taken up with her solo transcription of Ravel’s Bolero, which was 22’45” long. The other side was the Variations on the theme of “Carnival of Venice” by Posse, Bochsa, Godefroid and modern composer, Aronchikl. His variations consisted of fox-trot, polka, sarabande and rumba, followed by a fugue and cadenza.
Her harp had certainly never been regulated, and many of her strings were false. Her sense of rhythm was completely obliterated by her sense of rubato. Her dynamic range was from pp to mf, and mostly pp. She could play rather fast at times, and was very lugubrious at other times. She had a degree of passion evident, but not much else. She is my selection as the world’s worst harpist.