Double harp concertos?

Posted In: Young Harpists

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    unknown-user on #166048

    I was just listening to the cool-kid (oh yeah baby) CLASSICAL music
    station on the radio, and heard a triple trumpet concerto. When the
    thought crossed my mind, “Was anyone ever naiive enough to write a
    double, or dare I think it…. TRIPLE harp concerto before?”. After
    thinking for a while, I don’t think I’ve ever heard one. Any imput?

    unknown-user on #166049

    If you will arrange a commission, I’ll be happy to compose one. I might even do one anyway. Of course, there was the one arranged by Kevin Kaska from his own piece written for Ann Hobson.

    benjamin-creighton-griffiths on #166050

    Well how about Five harps! Adlais Music publishers publish a traditional Welsh piece “Tros y dwr i draeth Llansteffan” arranged by Andr? Schaefer. “Over the sea to Llansteffan” – is the English title of this old Welsh tune.
    In the BBC television film ‘Their Harps of Gold’, the five harpists who gave the first performance of this arrangement – Caryl Thomas,Valerie Aldrich-Smith, Siwan Jones, Shan Llewellyn-Jones and Adrienne Cowen – can be heard and seen playing it on the beach at Ferryside, with the sun shining on the river Tywi, the fishermen plying their nets, and Llansteffan and its castle in the background.

    Tacye on #166051

    Parish Alvars concertino for two harps or harp and piano has been recorded (Marielle Nordmann and piano) as has Tros y Gareg (Over the Stone, nice tune- features in John Thomas’ harp duet Cambria too) by Karl Jenkins comissioned by Prince Charles (see he is useful!) for Catrin Finch and played with Eleanor Bennett.

    There was also a jazzy thing for two electric harps (well 4 actually as they played baby ones and pedal ones) I heard at the WHC in Prague.

    benjamin-creighton-griffiths on #166052

    Deborah Henson-Conant has a cool one for two harps, “Off She Goes & She’s Gone” my teacher Eluned Pierce played one part on her pedal harp and I used my Camac electric lever harp in a Christmas concert last year. Ann Griffiths of Adlais has also just done a great one Prelude (Ave Maria)(BWV 846),The famous Prelude in C. On her site it says “Specially arranged for Harp 1 to be played by teacher (leader) on pedal harp with Harp 2 played by harpist beginner on lever or pedal harp Harp 1 can also be played as a solo” I played it with Ann she used my Pedal Harp and I played the other part on my Pilgrim lever harp. Adlais also do lots of other duets Schubert Ave Maria & Serenade, then John Thomas Cambria, Carmen, Scenes from Childhood. I am very lucky because I have lots of Adlais music as my Dad prints it for Adlais and Ann said I should have a copy of all her scores – there are over 100 of them. But I am only 8 years old

    carl-swanson on #166053

    What’s worse than one out-of-tune harp……..?

    S M on #166054

    …Two out-of-tune harps, maybe? : )

    barbara-brundage on #166055

    There’s also a concertino by Malecki that was performed at the AHS conference in

    unknown-user on #166056

    Well, as long as we’re all in the joke telling mood…

    So a priest, a rhabbi and two out-of-tune harps walk into a bar…

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #166057

    Check out this web site: It is about the harp
    duo of Nora Bumanis and Julia Shaw. In their repertoire list is a large selection of double
    harp concerti!

    Evangeline Williams on #166058

    Celtic Symphony (is that what it’s called) by a British Composer (can’t recall the name) calls for 8 harps at least, so it’s rarely done.

    unknown-user on #166059

    Actually, a double or triple harp concerto could create a more satisfying balance with a full orchestra, since the harp requires special handling in a concerto setting. Usually for solo concertos, chamber orchestras and ensembles are preferable, or transparent scoring for full orchestra. I’ve heard and played in harp ensembles, but wonder how it would project and blend with orchestra – probably a rather thick, lush effect. Three harps may actually work better than two because of tuning and blending issues. A small group of mixed strings like harp, guitar and dulcimer would also make an effective grouping in a concerto. Are there recordings of double harp concertos? Certainly worth hearing!

    alexander-rider on #166060

    Kevin Kaska; “Knights of the Red Branch” for three harps and orchestra .Hope this thread isn’t too old….

    unknown-user on #166061

    Maybe a bit tangential to the subject.
    …but… I very much enjoyed playing harpsichord in a duet written by 18th C. Jean Baur for ‘harp, with ‘singing’ accompaniment for harpsichord’ with Mary Ann Harr in Madison Wisconsin this past July.
    I think it could be managed by two harps, especially if the person playing the harpsichord part is nimble with ornaments, or just leaves some out.

    Fearghal McCartan on #166062

    Definitely an old post now, but this cd ‘Concertos for Two Harps and Orchestra’ was out in 2003. It is on the Egan Records label and features Catherine Michel and Xavier de Maistre. The works are: W.A. Mozart ‘Concerto for Two Harps and Orchestra in E-flat Major’, F.J. Gossec ‘Concertante du Ballet de Mirza for Two Harps and Orchestra in D Major’, Elias Parish Alvars ‘Concertino for Two Harps and Orchestra’ and Maciej Malecki ‘Concertino in Ancient Style for Two Harps and String Orchestra’

    Some excellent playing there. If you don’t have a copy I would definitely recommend it.


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