I’ve enjoyed the thread on show-off pieces. Just curious–what do you play when asked to play something slow, beautiful, or meditative?
I enjoyed that thread, too, and in answer to your question, I like to play the Rachmaninoff 18th Variation on a Theme by Paganini. I adapted the original piano score for harp, and I play it on pedal harp very much like the original, except in D instead of D Flat. An arrangement of it by me and Angi Bemiss, for lever harp, appears in CLASSICAL SELECTIONS, Book Two, published by Simply the Harp in Atlanta. I usually follow this selection by adding the Theme from the movie SOMEWHERE IN TIME, since both pieces were used in the movie. Incidentally, the popular theme can be found in UNFORGETTABLE THEATRE TREASURES, Book One, also arranged for lever harp by me and Angi. Be looking for new arrangements from Simply the Harp coming soon!
With my best wishes,
Good question! These would be the ones in my repertoire that I would pull out –
Debussy’s The Little Shepard from Children’s Corner Suite
Francisque Pavane from Courante, Pavane and Bransles
Britten Ceremony of Carols Interlude
McDonald’s arrangement of Greensleeves
Sid & Emily, I love all of your suggestions, too! Particularly the Moonlight Sonata–I drool over it on the pedal harp. The tones can just ring out on the harp like Beethoven intended, with very little hand damping. His piano did not have the long sustain of the modern grand piano, so I feel like the harp makes it sound more like Beethoven’s piano would have sounded. (There is an indication on Beethoven’s piano score that means “play without dampers” which is impossible on the modern piano. It gets way too “muddy” right away, for my taste, but not too muddy on the harp!)
Emily, The Little Shepherd and Greensleeves (What Child Is This?) always find their way onto my Christmas concerts! They are absolutely beautiful on the harp!
Have a great day, all of you!
I, too, have had great luck with “When You Wish Upon a Star.” At one of our concerts where there was a good group of children, we had them come up to get a close look at the pedal harp and had a “childrens’ time.” I played “When You Wish Upon a Star” with all the pedal changes, so the children could see what a harpist has to do–they were amazed! After that concert, the local high-school principal came up and said that his favorite part of the concert was the “Disney Star piece.”
I also thought of “Claire de Lune” and “Some Enchanted Evening” as good slow, show-off pieces. The original “Fur Elise” by Beethoven works well on pedal harp, too, although not what I would really consider a “slow” piece. It usually gets comments like “I didn’t know that piece could be played on the harp!”
Happy Harping, Friends!
Great suggestions! I’m working on pieces from Andres’ “Ribambelle” collection. I’ve found that Angi Bemiss has some beautiful arrangements of slower pieces. Oh, and Rhett Barnwell also. His slower pieces are beautiful. My favorite of his to play right now is “Oh the Beautiful Treasures.”
Tournier wrote two pieces that are drop-dead gorgeous. One is called Offrande, and it’s not terribly difficult. The other is called The Eternal Dreamer, and is from his collection of Images called Au Hasard des Ondes. It’s more difficult technically and is a mine field of delicate nuance, but it’s really worth the effort.
I hesitate to even mention it, because it’s definitely not in the category of the other pieces listed here, but you may be referring to my piece “Upon the Willows.” This is definitely not a shameless promotion of the piece. 🙂 And, yes, Balfour’s right. It’s included in a slightly simplified version in Angi Bemiss’s new book “The Music of Friends, Volume 2.” The original version is still being printed by Seraphim Music, and I think it’s available from the larger music dealers. Thank you for your kind comments about the piece!
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