Debussy's Premiere Arabesque for lever harp?

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    Andelin on #185270

    So…I have owned the sheet music for this song for a long time. (I have the one arranged for lever harp, by Barbara Brundage.) I have worked on it off and on over the years. It has taken a lot of work, but I think I have gotten to the point where I can play most of it, except for a few sections with a lot of really quick lever changes. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s even possible to play without slowing it down. There are a few spots where the accidental can be simply skipped, but not many. I checked youtube for a recording on lever harp and couldn’t find one. Has anyone ever tried it or seen it done?

    I play a L&H prelude with loveland levers. I noticed some levers feeling a bit stiff so I loosened them a little, but still it seems there’s not enough time on some of them. Might it be easier with a different type of lever? (Not that I could or would buy a new harp just for one song.). Any thoughts? Thanks!

    balfour-knight on #185273

    Hi, again, Andelin! I have not tried that Arabesque on lever harp, just pedal harp (and of course, piano!). I imagine that the lever changes are indeed a challenge, and it might be possible and acceptable to slow down a little as you play it very expressively.

    I was not aware that Lyon & Healy used Loveland levers! I thought that they always used Performance levers. However, I consider that the Lovelands are the easiest to change quickly, with their shorter throw than most of the other levers. It was good that you loosened the tighter ones, as I do that myself. Hope this helps! Best of luck on “perfecting” the Arabesque!

    Andelin on #185274

    I don’t think they use them now. I’ve owned my harp for 14 years, and it was purchased used. It is possible I am wrong about the name of the levers. Anyway, they are not the same levers they use on new harps now.

    Thanks for your advice and kind words. 🙂

    barbara-fackler on #185365

    I have my own arrangement of this for lever harp but I can’t imagine it’s much different than the one you’re using. Hang in there. It is possible to play the piece up to tempo. Isolate your trouble spots and work it out. You can eventually conquer it and it will be lovely.

    patricia-jaeger on #185626

    Andelin, there is a volume DEBUSSY REVISITED, self-published by the late harpist Suzanne Balderston, Copyrighted in 2002. The cover states: Simplified and Arranged for Pedal and Lever Harp. The four compositions enclosed are: Clair de Lune, La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin, En Bateau, and Premiere Arabesque. Her e-mail at the time of publication, printed on the outside of the back cover, was: If this contact no longer works, see if it is available through major harp music catalogues. A last resort might be to contact her son, professional cellist Stephen Balderston. These are such useful classical works, for those who play harp but want more repertoire but lack pedals, or the time to study more complicated arrangements. Her previous website was: Mrs.Balderston arranged many other works for lever harps so quite likely they are now distributed and you would find them still in print somewhere. Good hunting!

    Andelin on #185703

    Thanks for your suggestion, Patricia. I will look for it. 🙂 I have always loved Clair de Lune (I do have a lever harp arrangement, I don’t remember who it’s by. I was thinking about pulling it out the other day). I am listening to En Bateau for the first time as I type this (gotta love youtube!) and it is absolutely beautiful! Although I wonder how playable it is on a lever harp. 🙂 Sounds like there are lots of accidentals. I can’t wait to try it.

    Hearing such beautiful music reminds me how much I want a pedal harp. Oh, yeah, and the talent to go with it. Someday.

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