Can anyone help me?
I saw a small college performance of this. They left the harp out completely in that movement. That way, the color doesn’t change when the 2nd part is left out. I’ve also seen a synth used for the “missing harp” part. It’s really hard to balance the dynamics that way.
Isn’t it crazy that an orchestra would attempt this piece without 2 harps? I started to write out a part for Mercury with the two parts combined, just to see if it could be done. I think it is doable, with some editing, but it always floors me to see orchestras trying to do without such an integral piece of the puzzle.
I only did the first page of Mercury before I ran out of time. I have never tried to play this piece with one harp. There would be so much missing! Even if they have to hire a keyboard player with the “harp” setting on, that would be better than leaving out so many lines. Maybe you could suggest that to them.
Holst is rolling in his grave.
My musical upbringing was shaped by a band director who bent over backwards to instill in his students a sense of musical integrity. I am grateful to this day for his painstaking attempts to get us wiggling adolescents to understand that a composer wrote something to be played with persistent respect to what he/she meant.
Is it that so many orchestral standards are out of copyright that they are so unhesitatingly programmed with whatever combinations of musicians can be arranged? “Two harps” doesn’t mean one harp and “something else that can play the same notes”, least of all something electronic or amplified.
I have never, ever seen acknowledgement in a program that addresses the fact that the instruments the composer meant are not being used in performance of a piece.
I am imagining the New World Symphony with an alto sax playing the English Horn part, or or a bassoon playing the flute part in “Meditation from Thais”. Hey why not, they[re all woodwinds, right? Who cares if there’s a couple octaves dropped among friends.
Makes my head ache.
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