New music

  • Participant
    Tacye on #146323

    How do you learn about new music, and what concert pieces from the last decade do you feel are worth learning or may become permanent parts of the repertoire?

    I enjoyed playing Gavin Bryars Old Man of the Sea for tenor and harp (once I had shifted notes between L and R hand and a few enharmonics, it sounds effective on the harp, but was not written in the most harp friendly way) and think I will work Andres Izmaylov’s Loneliness towards performance standard, but I am sure there is worthwhile music I don’t know about and would welcome reviews.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #146324

    I could see Steven Sametz’s Angelus being played a lot.

    I was thinking about this today, and whether there is a sufficient need for a harp publication that is solely a review of music.

    patricia-jaeger on #146325

    Tacye, in each American Harp Journal, published twice a year, there is a section entitled Recent Publications and Recordings. All printed music, audio and video recordings issued within the past three years are eligible to be listed. Recent issues have as many as four full pages listing these works, so it is where many of us scan the names of composers/arrangers/performers to find new music in which we might be interested. No review of each is printed; we might contact the printed source for more information, before a purchase.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #146326

    Eligible to be listed, yes, but that doesn’t mean they get listed, there is not enough space for all that are released. American String Teacher publishes a few reviews twice a year. That’s nowhere near the amount that gets published, though.

    HBrock25 on #146327

    It seems that the Internet should be a great resource to learn about new music, as well as, or in conjunction with traditional methods such as sheet music stores, libraries and catalogues or reference books. On the web you’ve got personal websites of composers that you would have to probably rely on a search engine to pick up if you didn’t already know who they were. There are also websites of national composers’ agencies etc.

    I wrote a trio for flute, viola and harp in 2004 called “Terrestrial Mirror” and naturally as composer I feel that it’s worth learning! But no doubt your question is directed to other harpists to get their opinions on repertoire they’ve been in contact with. The good news (for me) is that my trio is going to be performed and recorded soon by a group with a professional harpist (Delphine Latil) and flutist (Paolo Vignaroli). In fact I put the group together myself and will play viola in it, as it seemed that the work wasn’t going to get performed otherwise.

    I’m interested though in the broader question of how players connect up with new music. There are times when it seems to me that there are more composers writing new music than there are performers willing to play it. As a viola player I frequent several stringed instrument forums where it seems 99% of the contributors are only interested in the traditional classical repertoire.

    I could certainly have got my trio published by a publisher but that raises certain questions such as; is this the best publishing option, and, is this someone that’s going to promote it well and really get many more performances than I could in actively searching myself, as I’ll be signing away a share of the performing rights? I realise of course that if it’s not published it might not be considered valid music in some quarters. But from what’s been said here, publication itself doesn’t necessarily mean lots of players will get to know about it.

    So in the meantime the score and parts for “Terrestrial Mirror” are sitting on my site and can be freely downloaded by anyone interested in playing it. I enjoyed reading “A RANT” – I’ve always thought that having a one-hour discussion with an instrumentalist over their instrument is worth many hours of reading instrumentation texts. My own composing style is quite chromatic, so concerning my own trio, rehearsing in a group with harp and getting constant feedback was really essential to the writing process.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #146328

    I agree that there is a major marketing and communication gap between composers, publishers and harpists that is only minimally adressed by current publications. I prefer music from publishers because it has presumably been professionally edited and vetted. It is also usually easier to find. That said, I know how hard it is for composers to get published. If you have the option, I would go with the publisher, if they will print a nice edition. I have done my own, thus far, because the publishers who have offered to publish my music will not do it in the format I require, which is a normal size page (9×12 minimum).

    I don’t know if I’m the one to do it, but we do need a publication or site that has a truly comprehensive list of repertoire, with descriptions and availability. Websites are too disparate, too many domains. I would be happy to host it on my website, but it will take a group of people to maintain it.

    Nigel Keay on #146329

    I’ve now got a complete recording of my work Terrestrial Mirror on my webpage. We recorded it at the beginning of this month, but it’s not the final mix – that’s being worked at the moment. The trio was recorded using a main couple of large diaphragm mics in front as well as a Core Sound TetraMic placed in the middle of the group feeding into a Metric Halo ULN-8 audio interface. The sound engineer put a long table on its end just behind the harpist (sitting on the right) to reflect out sound. We recorded in a largish salon, and old dance room, with about a 6 metre high ceiling, great acoustic for chamber music. Harpist uses a Camac harp. I’ll let you know when I’ve posted the finished version of the recording.

    Nigel Keay on #146330

    Since I made the post above the recording has been used as a sound example for an audio plugin called Harpex. This has nothing to do with harps – for the technically-minded it stands for high angular resolution planewave expansion! Also, I’ve replaced the mp3 recordings on my own webpage with something much closer to the final mix, everything should sound much more realistic, and generally nicer to listen to. The only thing that could be altered now is the balance between the two microphone sets to make it all drier; I think there’s an adequate amount of natural reverb in the recording, but it could be reduced slightly, perhaps?

    Katherine Denler on #146331

    I really like the peice by Kati Agocs “Terry Riley”, which has been made popular by Juilliard harpists — Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton, and I believe it was originally written for Bridget Kibby? I heard it this past summer in Tacoma, and it was very effective.

    “Up next was a modern take on an old theme: Kati Agocs’ “John Riley,” the first movement from ‘Every Lover Is A Warrior.’ Agocs is a modern classical composer and fellow Juilliard grad, who has taken the traditional Appalachian folk ballad “John Riley” and adapted it for harp. Ms. Van Hoesen Gorton allowed the listeners to appreciate the bluegrass feel of “John Riley” while yet maintaining its classically lyrical line.”

    From a review — here

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #146332

    I find that harp gatherings and conferences are a great way to experience lots of new or unfamiliar repertoire. I keep a pen handy and write down my comments about the pieces I like in the margins of the programme so that I don’t forget afterwards. Usually, the music that is featured is being sold at the exhibits, too.

    HBrock25 on #146333

    I’ve got one too.

    andrew feazelle on #146334

    Great piece Nigel. Good sounding recording too. How much did it cost to record?

    andrew feazelle on #146335

    Oh, and I think I let the original poster – Tacye look at it too, months ago!

    Nigel Keay on #146336

    Thanks Andrew. It’s hard to say exactly how much that work cost to record because it’s part of a larger project to record five of my works for a CD. It’s a rather special and unique set of circumstances; it’s funded for the most part by the France/New Zealand Friendship Fund, and the idea behind that was to put (younger) musicians from both countries together to work on this project, getting to know each other through music. Here is the link to see the overall picture: CD of chamber music. Thirteen musicians participated.

    The two works that I’m playing in were recorded by Andrew Levine of blumlein records (Hamburg) and the other three I recorded myself. I did the editing for all five works and Andrew is doing all the mixing and mastering for the entire CD. In terms of the soundtake for Terrestrial Mirror, that was done in a single session with Andrew’s mobile studio here in Paris.

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #146337

    I really like the Valse by Bax that is published by Fatrock Ink.

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