I received the journal from the Am. Harp Society today. Featured on the front cover is a bright red Salzedo harp. Great photo. Has anyone seen it in person. I cannot figure out if is a red lacquer or a red stain. Camac blue, now LH red. What does anyone else think? (Maybe someone who has figured out how to post a photo here could do so.)
Gretchen. Look up
The Colorado Trail: Fantaisie for Harp, op. 28 – Emmanuel Ceysson on You Tube, and I believe this is the same harp. (And if it’s not, you can still listen to the amazing talent of Emmanuel playing.) He is performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on this video. Blessings! Sherj
There’s info on these harps in this article.
I think there’s a black one too somewhere. I seem to remember seeing a picture of Remy Van Kesteren with one? Just going from pics online I would guess it’s a matt paint finish rather than a stain. I have to admit, I’m afraid I’m not a fan of the red one but each to their own!
Perhaps it is not a surprise, but I can’t stand it. The original is a piece of art, and should not be altered in any way. The black is more palatable, but still not the original. It was enough for Salzedo to have the stripes on the sounding board in his favorite color, and I think we should be more respectful. It is kind of like harlotry. The music should be the sensation, not the color of the harp. To apply color, I suspect, requires too much coating, which definitely can inhibit the tone projection. I have heard quite a few harps that had too-thick of a coating of finish, and a good ten percent of the sound was lost, if not more.
I have a design for a dragon harp, and green and red would suit that far better, as well as gold and jeweled eyes.
The red Salzedo he used is actually now for sale at L&H West in Salt Lake. L&H shipped it there especially for him to use at a conference and for this performance. Just a FYI in case anyone would like to purchase it. 🙂 Gretchen, the Tabernacle is actually not a Temple and is open to anyone. The Salt Lake Temple, which is next door, is reserved for Latter-day Saints only. The Tabernacle is open daily to visitors, and the Temple Square organists play daily recitals there. It’s a great place to visit.
Like you, I don’t think I’d want to own one, but it does look stunning on stage.
I live in Salt Lake City and sing in the Tabernacle Choir where I sat less than ten feet from Emmanuel as he played the red Salzedo on our weekly, live TV and radio broadcast on the last week of January (BTW, that’s the oldest network broadcast in world history, I’ll shamelessly plug). It inspired me to get back into harp playing (I’ve been a Troubadour player for about 15 years), and I went harp shopping the next day.
I ultimately bought a Camac Athena (mostly because of the price factor–it was used and it in excellent condition, it was priced excellently because they wanted it off their floor to sell some newer harps, I liked that it was so sturdy, and I’m not a professional harpist and didn’t feel I could sacrifice retirement savings for the L&H 30 which most spoke to me).
Anyway, I very seriously considered the red Salzedo. It looks stunning on stage and up close. I think the color is tasteful–flashy, yes, but it’s certainly not in animal print or neon green. It’s a lovely matte finish, not glossy. On my final visit to L&H West, Melanie, the wonderful sales clerk, set up the three harps that I’d settled on considering (an 85, a 30, and the red Salzedo) in a blind test. A non-harpist friend and I sat with our backs to the the instruments, she shuffled the harps around and then played a series of different types of music on each harp (arpeggios on all three, then chords, etc.). My friend and I made notes (Melanie had a sheet with different characteristics we were supposed to rate.)
When I’d first played the Salzedo several days previously, I raved about how “exotic” (that was the word that came to mind) the Salzedo sounded. It sounded like it had a charming foreign accent–it was also sophisticated, I thought.
Anyway, back to the blind test. Over and over I kept hearing one harp that I liked the most, and one harp I liked the least. The one I most liked (and my friend, too), had a full-bodied sound. The one we like least had a weak, tinny sound. I was ambivalent to the sound of the third one.
I finally turned around, dreading seeing how much I liked the Salzedo (which was priced about $12,000 more than each of the others–but in the same range as a 23). Guess what? I liked the red Salzedo least and the 85 most! Realizing that I’d let looks, perhaps, play a factor, I sat down to each harp myself with, hopefully, renewed objectivity. It was suddenly clear that the 30 was the harp that sounded the best under my hands. We even moved the harps around to see if it was the acoustics. It wasn’t, and all three of us (Melanie, my friend, and I) agreed that the 30 sounded like the harp for me. (By the way, I think you can hear a little of the red Salzedo’s metallic characteristic I didn’t like in the link to the video of Emmanuel playing with MoTab that some posted above.)
Lyon & Healy was very nice when I didn’t buy any of its harps, by the way. (I buy lots of music from them, though.)
This isn’t to say that the red Salzedo sounds bad. I think my demonstration indicates that each harp, as you all know, sounds different under different players. It just didn’t have the wow factor that I initially thought it did.
I also need to plug for Melanie that she’s an excellent sales person. The harps were tuned to perfection, so that was not a factor in my listening. She was also very knowledgeable and did not pressure me toward any harp in the store. (She certainly could have put it on thick to make the Salzedo sound better to me, had she wanted to resort to any such subversive tactic). She also confirmed what I was hearing and made suggestions to me about how to make sure I was arriving at the best conclusion.
When I visited the LH factory, I saw a red Salzedo and an aqua Style 30. I burst out laughing at the aqua 30 – not sure who would ever want it. I didn’t like the red Salzedo, but then again I don’t like red. Always thought a black Salzedo would look good, but it is so dark that you can’t really see any of the architectural details.
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