Rustle of Spring

Posted In: Repertoire

  • Participant
    leisesturm on #233293

    Greetings: Does anyone know if a harpist or arranger has taken on the task of transcribing “Rustle of Spring” by Christian Sinding for Pedal Harp? I’ve not even begun my harp journey, but I enjoy performing this piece on the piano and I ‘hear’ it on the harp as well. It doesn’t seem impossible to pull off by someone with the necessary experience in transcribing piano literature for harp. I ask because my attempts to use Google to find such a thing have not been successful. Thoughts?

    H

    Participant
    charles-nix on #233302

    Most of it looks playable as-is–just write in the proper pedals (and fingerings). At a quick speed, it will be challenging on harp. And with no dampers, it may be too muddy to come off well.

    The section with chromatic scales will be a problem. Some areas have a note, say Ab, held in the right hand, while the left plays a quick chromatic scale starting on Ab. When the next sixteenth note (A-nat) is changed by the pedals, the held note in the treble chord will change also. The only answer might be to play the held chord as a G#.

    By the time you are technically able to play the notes on harp, you will easily know enough to mark the pedals and enharmonics you needed to play it straight from the piano score for yourself.

    The bigger question is: without dampers, and without time to manually damp, and with the number of chromatic scales, will it come off only as a muddy, buzzy, mess on the harp?

    Participant
    leisesturm on #233328

    Of course … damping. I had not thought of that. One of (for me) the charms of harps is that even in a dry acoustic the ‘ring’ of the strings kind of acts like its own reverberation. The organ I have been playing for a year has built in digital reverberation and I LOVE it. I am playing a concert this Sunday on a pipe organ in a very dry space and I HATE it. Doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to invent a mechanical damper for pedal harps but you wouldn’t have a harp anymore at that point I guess. As for buzzing … I guess by the time harpists get good enough to be recorded or to post on YouTube they are past that? I ask because I read here about ‘buzzing’ but I never hear any in the performances I have heard. Someone should post a video of what people really sound like before they get good.

    Participant
    Tacye on #233337

    Mechanical dampers of various sorts have been invented – Zabaleta famously used one which you can see at the top of the bass strings here https://www.cdandlp.com/en/nicanor-zabaleta/recital/lp/r116147914/ There were also much earlier versions, still to be found on some historic harps. But they don’t have the flexibility of using fingers and hands to do the damping.

    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #233341

    It is not playable. I have studied it.

    Participant
    catherine-rogers on #233347

    I believe Saul is correct. You can see the piano music on MusicNotes.com. On page 4 there are so many rapid chromatic changes that it looks impractical. Perhaps one could make some judicious omissions. However, the way some harpists whip through Wagner’s opera parts makes me think nothing is impossible! That being said, to make some music (however beautiful) playable on harp is sometimes more trouble than it is worth, and one’s time is better spent on other, less frustrating, equally beautiful repertoire.

    Try Liebestraum by Liszt from Sharon Watson’s book of wedding music from Lyon & Healy. Very nice arrangement.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #233657

    Rustle of Spring has been one of my favorite piano pieces since I learned it in the 7th grade from a very gifted teacher. It can indeed be played on the pedal harp with some adjustments. Just make nice diatonic scales out of the chromatic scales, and LISTEN to what you are doing. I play it “by ear” using the original score as a guide. It can be lush and beautiful on the harp, but you will definitely need a pedal harp, Howard. Levers can be flipped with some speed by your hands, but not nearly as nicely as pedals with your feet! Think of those organ pedals and “toe studs” and what they can do! Pedals on the harp are like “combination settings, or pistons” as opposed to hand pulling individual stops on the organ.

    Harp Hugs,
    Balfour

    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #233764

    Changing chromatic scales to diatonic scales is not in character with the music. There are also tempo considerations. After spending a number of years mastering Salzedo’s brilliant transcription of Debussy’s Clair de Lune, and finally realizing some more fluid fingerings at the climactic moments, I decided, as beautiful as it is, it was not worth the amount of time it took to master it on the harp, compared to what it takes a pianist to learn it. For them it is an intermediate kind of solo, a little more difficult than Debussy’s Reverie, but for us it is a major endeavor! Therefore, when considering a piece for transcription, one must consider whether it will be worth amount of preparation required. I looked at Smetana’s die Moldau, and realized there was much gorgeous detail that could be played by a virtuoso, that Trnecek had glossed over with his endless arpeggios up and down. But after a while, I realized, given the length of the piece, it would just be too physically exhausting, plus it would wear out the ears of the listeners with too much detail. Transcriptions are as much an art as they are a skill.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #233816

    Saul, I do understand where you are coming from. However, I have always tried to make all kinds of music playable on the harp, and have helped many students and professionals realize their dream of playing their favorite pieces on whatever instrument they favor. From a “purest” standpoint, thinking of Clara Schumann and Frederic Chopin, the original intentions of the composer are preferred. They both have been quoted as saying, “play my composition as I wrote it, or do not bother to play it at all!”

    The ENJOYMENT of music is top priority on my list!

    Harp hugs and best wishes to you all,
    Balfour

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #233825

    This whole discussion made me think of Renie’s wonderful transcription of La Rossignol of Liszt. That piece, a minor one for the pianists, has 3 or 4 quasi-cadenzas which are each huge washes of chromatic scales. Totally impossible on the harp. So Renie lifted each one of them out and composed something that would be playable for each one, and her replacement cadenzas are brilliant. In fact, I’m so used to hearing her transcription, that when I hear the original on piano, I really don’t like Liszt’s own cadenzas as much. They seem to me to break with the texture of the rest of the piece. They stick out too much. So I guess it all really comes down to how the changes are made.

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