Show Off Piece

Posted In: Repertoire

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    katie-lynch-koglin on #144620

    If you don’t mind sharing, what’s your favorite “show off” piece?
    Something that shows off the harp well, amazes audiences, but fits well in your hand. I think of Samuel O. Pratt’s “The Little Fountain,” Salzedo’s “Mirage,” and Deborah Henson-Conant’s “New Blues” and Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” for the jazzier side. In this case I’m looking for professional, classical, solo pedal harp music. Thanks in advance!

    kay-lister on #144624

    Chanson de la Nuit – gets em every time.

    😉 Kay

    Sid Humphreys on #144625

    Because it gets such a positive effect from listeners and it fits easily under the fingers, Penny Beavers arrangement of “Theme From Somewhere In Time” is my favorite show off piece.

    katie-lynch-koglin on #144647

    Kay, I agree! The conductor wants something else though.

    Alison on #144651

    the first few bars of arpeggios in Hasselman’s La Source – but otherwise I struggle to find a favorite that I think will appeal. Sometimes I indulge in the beginning of Debussy’s Arabesque after tuning a lever harp in Eb, just so that the youngsters and their parents can hear something lush.

    Anonymous on #144653

    Hmmm. I don’t I have a show off piece… but you have inspired me to be open to one.

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #144668

    I love playing my pieces The Downstairs Spider and The Damselfly as a set. They are fun to play, on either lever and pedal harp, and are kid-friendly.

    eliza-morrison on #144678

    Pierne’s Impromptu-Caprice, Salzedo’s Scintillation (long) and Seguidilla (short; from Suite of 8 Dances). Nutcracker Cadenza. Prokofiev Prelude in C. Parish Alvars Romance #14. Clair de Lune.

    kathie-bracy on #144691

    “Great Day” by Nancy Gustavson. Wows ’em every time, and a lot easier than a lot of the “big” pieces.

    Gretchen Cover on #144692

    First Arabesque, Claude Debussy; Nataliana or Baroque Flamenco, Deborah Henson-Conant.

    Gretchen Cover on #144694


    In re-reading the posts in this thread (I’m always on the lookout, too, for new repertoire), I noticed you said “conductor.” It would be nice to know the context for needing a show-off piece, but I am going to now assume you are playing something with an orchestra. If so, you might want to check out Two Guitars by Linda Wood. There is also an additional chamber music accompaniment. This is a great two-page showy harp piece and is very easy to learn.

    katie-lynch-koglin on #181929

    Thank you for the ideas, and please keep them coming for me and others! Gretchen, the scenario is a choir concert where I’m playing on two pieces with the choir, and the conductor would like a harp solo as well. “I would like to have a solo work for harp something flashy and fascinating (Salzedo?) that would be 6-8 minutes.” I mentioned Chanson dans la Nuit, La Desirade and Mirage – probably two of the three. His reaction was “I like the ones you suggested, although I would like to explore a couple of different options if you don’t mind. When I have a chance to do a little research I will get back to you.” I don’t know what his “research” will discover so I’d like to come up with my own list as well.

    I also considered DHC’s Nataliana, Baroque Flamenco, Hasselman’s La Source, Zabel’s Marguerite at the Spinning Wheel, Dussek’s Sonata in C minor, Salzedo’s Scintillation and a friend mentioned Renie’s Feuillets d’Album and Hasselmans Suite Melancolique. Nutcracker is a staple of my rep, but not appropriate here.

    This is the concert:
    “Eternal Masters”
    1. CARSON COOMAN: Downpour
    2. HARP Suite: TBA*
    3. CARLYLE SHARPE Eternity’s Music (SATB String Quartet and harp)*
    4. BYRON ADAMS: Trois Illuminations for chamber chorus and harp*
    5. ERIC WHITACRE: Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine

    Thanks so much! Hopefully this thread helps others too.

    Gretchen Cover on #182136

    Katie, you may want to consider playing Cantique de Jean Racine by Faure. There is an arrangement for harp/string quartet on OK, it’s not a harp solo but I think the piece would fit with the theme “Eternal Masters” and work with the choral pieces. You are fortunate enough to have the string quartet available. If you wanted to add a solo part, you could use Daniel Burton’s arrangement found at the usual harp websites. (As a stand-alone show-off piece, it would not work.) Cantique is about 5 minutes long.

    Tacye on #182349

    The programme you are joining is all recently composed music so the conductor may wish to stick with this timescale. If you have time to learn it a bug or spider or two by Paul Patterson might fit the bill perfectly. Otherwise composers which haven’t been mentioned include David Watkins (the Fire Dance alone is too short, but the whole suite might work), William Mathias, Bernard Andres (I might well turn to a few of his Epices in this situation). But do be sure you have time to learn the piece and want to – I would be really cautious about any organiser looking to choose from the harp repertiore, rather than my repertoire!

    katie-lynch-koglin on #182351

    Gretchen, I’ve actually played Cantique de Jean Racine by Faure, but not in that format.

    Tacye, thank you for those suggestions. I’m not familiar with any of them except Andres. I am cautious; that’s why I started this post.

    I just found the Harp Column issue from August with a whole article on standards and alternate rep, and I also thought of Hasselman’s “The Prayer.” So many choices. Thanks so much!

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