contemporary music

Posted In: Young Harpists

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    unknown-user on #166650

    I’m working on my thesis right now and I have to compare contemporary music. The only problem is that I don’t really know any, because I’ve been focusing on spohr, debussy and mozart.
    I’m writing about a piece called “Wi(e)der” (1993, by Daniel Weissberg) and am looking for the most “common” contemporary harp music to compare it with. My teacher isn’t really being any help at all, so I need somebody who knows more about that scene. Any suggestions which pieces I should look at? So far I’ve checked out Berio and Holliger’s Sequenzas, but that can’t be all.


    Lydia Michel on #166651

    Hi Rachelle,

    You could consider John Weinzweig’s Fifteen Pieces for Harp. I believe he wrote a concerto as well. I studied “Shadows” and “Quarks,” from the Fifteen pieces, and found them to be very challenging since they incorporated effects that are usually only found in modern repertoire. “Shadows” didn’t really have any melody, which is common in this type of music– it was all about the effect of making “shadow-like” sounds. “Quarks” was a blast to play, but again, very untypical. It included alot of percussive effects and a driving rhythm. I had to do a lot of “banging” on the harp, both on strings and soundboard. Both these pieces were programmed for the highschool division of the AHS competition, two years ago, so you should be able to find them at Lyon and HEaly or Vanderbilt. The other piece you really should consider is the Ginastera concerto. This is a staple of the harp concertos, and certainly the most well-known piece of contemporary music written for harp.. The first movement is somewhat impressionistic, but atonal. The last movement is an atonal percussive nightmare. In fact,

    barbara-brundage on #166652

    I’d suggest contacting the AHS to get the program from the conference that year or the preceding or following year (don’t remember if ’93 was a conference year). The recitals at the conference usually include a relatively high percentage of world premiere performances, so if you look at what was being debuted around then, it would give you some points of reference (although you might have some trouble following up on some of them, since a lot of those pieces sink without a trace after the premiere.)

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