An engineer asked me to pick out some preferred solo harp recordings to show what sound I like, and I could not truly find any.
The better ones were not done in studios but in churches. I did not really do any better with lps. The only fine recordings were Judy Loman’s all-Salzedo lp and Heidi Lehwalder’s all-Salzedo lp (which I technical-assisted on). In chamber music, it’s another story. It partly has to do with how many harpists play, but mostly to do with acoustics and microphone placement as well as type of microphone.
I would urge harpists to forsake studio recording and seek out wonderful sound environments in which to record. To me, that requires a high ceiling of 16 feet or much more, and a reasonable amount of reverberation, but not too much. A feeling of space rather than echo would be best, it seems.
I would like to avoid the sound of the finger seeming to hit the string and minimize any buzzes by keeping the microphone at a distance. I want to hear the harp in the room as an audience does, not where it is being played. Whether that can be recreated in a small space remains to be seem.
What are your favorite recordings or recording techniques and why?