Thurau Cromos


  • Participant
    greenjudy on #234279

    Greetings! I’ve been really taken with Ralf Kleemann’s videos of the Cromos by Rainier Thurau, and I wondered if anyone has had any hands-on experience with this instrument.

    There seems to be very little information in English about the Cromos; I’m not even entirely sure of the asking price (6500 euros…?) or what shipping costs might be like to the U.S.

    I’d be delighted to hear anyone’s impressions of this harp. I’m very curious about what is being described as ‘Erard’ tension on the gut strings.

    • This topic was modified 1 week ago by  greenjudy.

    Participant
    wil-weten on #234287

    I love Kleemann’s playing too and I think Mr. Thurau builds great harps.

    In an earlier message you wrote: “I just relinquished my beautiful Pratt Chamber Harp because it was too big, too heavy, and a little too temperature-sensitive for my lifestyle. I travel back and forth a lot and spend a lot of my time in a remote retreat area where it is difficult for me to control temperature and humidity.” I’m afraid such a brutal environment would ask for quite another kind of harp. Frankly, I’d rather think of a Dusty Ravenna…

    As to string tension, in an earlier message you disliked the lighter tension of the Camac Ulysse and found the medium string tension of the Salvi Donegal more attractive.
    As far as I know, the Erard harps had a kind of tension that was almost a modern lever gut tension and I wonder if that’s what you are looking for, given your earlier enthusiasme for the Camac Excalibur, which has a tension somewhat between lever tension and pedal gut tension.

    As to shipping, I can only say, that a few years ago, I wondered about importing a harp from the US to the Netherlands, where I live, and I found the shipping costs extremely high (think of more than 600 dollars for a lever harp and costs have been rising since) and above it, I would have to pay a lot of money on importing fees and VAT (even on the shipping costs). Well, I know the US, don’t have VAT, but you will still have to pay importing fees.

    No, I don’t have hands-on experience with the Cromos by Rainer Thurau

    As to current the price of the Cromos, you would have to ask Mr. Thurau privately.

    Edit: here: https://www.oldharpsmadeyoung.com/single-post/2014/09/26/String-and-String-Tension I found some information on the string tension of Erard Gothic harps.

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by  wil-weten.

    Participant
    greenjudy on #234301

    Hi wil-weten,

    Thanks so much for your speedy reply!

    I’m still living out in coastal Northern CA – about two ridges east of the Pacific Ocean – but my work and living situation has thoroughly stabilized since 2016, and I have a lot better understanding of the environmental factors here.

    I must have made it sound like I lived in a cave…! 😀 In fact, my space is pretty comfortable. I keep it heated in the winter, so there are no abrupt hot-cold shifts in my world. There are a few days out of every year where I experience indoor temperatures upwards of 90 degrees F, because I have no air conditioning. But again, no dramatic sudden changes.

    I’ve had a Camac Bardic 27 since 2016–a cute little tank! It has done just fine here, probably in part because I can control the humidity during the torrential rainy season pretty well by keeping the space heated; I’ve also had pretty good success minimizing drafts. The Bardic doesn’t seem to mind the very low humidity my part of Northern California experiences between mid-October and mid-November, although if I were to get another harp, I would like to consult this group about whether you think I would be better off running a humidifier for that period.

    Much as I love my Bardic, I *do* miss a larger harp, and heartily regret having let go of the Pratt. Now that I’m about to turn 50, I’m feeling a strong urge to bring a larger instrument back into my life.

    Regarding string tension: I was very comfortable with the Pratt’s concert tension, but have also done fine with the tension of the Bardic. I am still really interested in the Excalibur, even though I’ve heard that the Bardic actually has a higher string tension than the Excalibur (!). The Korrigan is another choice I am contemplating. I guess from what you linked me that the Cromos would be more “folk gut tension,” which I could probably adapt to without too much difficulty, if I liked the sound and feel enough.

    Speaking of folk gut, I’m not a giant fan of the Dusty Strings sound, but I am quite interested in the Boulevard. (I might rent one for 2020, to give me time to build up the resources for a very good harp in 2021.)

    Pardon my rambling! I was so struck by the complexity of sound I heard in the Cromos that I wanted to see what others thought. It sounds like the shipping and fees would be pretty daunting.

    Thanks again. 🙂


    Participant
    wil-weten on #234339

    Hi greenjudy, the Camac Bardic is a cute little tank, indeed! And I think, you are very lucky to own a Camac harp, not only, because these are real nice harps, but also as these harps are made in a way that they suffer less much from less than ideal surroundings than harps built with relatively vulnerable parts of solid woods.

    I think you may need to measure the level of humidity in the room where your harp will stand. I live in a relatively moderate climate, but still need to use a dehumidfier (I use a Venta) in the wet seasons and a humidifier (I use a Qlima) in the dry season in order to keep the humidity level between 40% and 60%. Unfortunately, where I live, heating alone won’t keep the humidity level within that reach, and I fear the same will be the case at your place.

    I understand you would like a larger instrument than the Bardic. The question being, how many strings would you like? With 34 strings you could play most music meant for lever harp, but 36 or 38, or even 40 strings may suit you even better.

    Should the harp be easily transportable by bus or train or a (small) car? Would you need to regularly walk the stairs with it?

    Also very important, if not most important, what kind of music do you like? Classical, popular, and/or celtic? And are you looking for a lever harp almost sounding like a pedal harp or more like a celtic harp?

    As to the string tension of the Bardic versus the Excalibur. I’ve got an Excalibur and I can’t tell you if its string tension would be a little less than the tension of the Bardic. Both harps have a tension harder than celtic and softer than pedal tension, but the Bardic (mostly) has nylon strings, while the Excalibur (mostly) has carbon strings. Carbon strings are a bit elastic, so, perhaps they may feel a little bit less tense, but this may be misleading.

    Earlier, you already owned a Pratt Chamber harp and had to sell it, I wonder why you are willing to look for another kind of harp. Which aspect of harp playing would you rather see different in your next harp? Is it the levers, the sound, the string tension, or the ‘feel’ or perhaps the looks?

    One of the harps you are interested in, is a Korrigan. This is a sturdy harp does have pedal gut strings and sounds nice to my ears, but is significantly smaller than the Pratt Chamber harp, so its sound is simply not as rich as a significantly larger harp. Camac makes several other nice and sturdy harps with all kinds of string tension. So, the main question is, what kind of sound would you like?

    The Dusty Boulevard is in fact a Dusty Ravenna adapted for pedal gut strings. I never heard a Dusty Boulevard other than on the internet, but I think I like most other pedal gut lever harp strings better.

    Have you thought of one of the L&H lever harps? They are sturdy and are strung with pedal gut tension and I like their tone when they are played with a classical technique (I’ve got a Prelude, and love it). This harp does play heavier though than the Camac Mademoiselle and I think this has to do with the thickness of the soundboard.

    The complexity of sound you hear in the Cromos, has, no doubt, to do with a very fine harp player playing a very fine harp and it being recorded with nice recording equipment. But I’m convinced the same harp player could have other well-built harps very nice as well.

    As to getting used to medium lever tension (while you have now medium high lever tension on your bardic), I don’t think that would be a problem. The question would be, would you like the sound of a lesser tension?

    At youtube you may compare lever harp clips that are shot in the same space by the same person. Have a look at the clips of Atlanta Harp Center or Virginia Harp Center. This may give you an idea of the sound you are looking for.


    Participant
    greenjudy on #234485

    Dear wil-weten, apologies for the long delay in my response.

    I’ve obtained a humidity gauge and a humidifier; I should know a bit more about how dry it really is in the room very soon.

    Your post has been really helpful for me in my efforts to clarify what I want. The “Pratt sound” is one that I love almost over any other harp, although that Cromos sound, quite different, is also very special. In general I prefer dark and warm to the traditional bright Celtic sound. I think I’d like at least 36 strings.

    You asked what sort of music I want to play. I have broad tastes, and my “wish list” right now is eclectic. It includes Andres and Einaudi, a Bach prelude in C minor that I learned on the piano as a kid, but also works by Stivell and Maeve Gilchrist and even some music from the video game Final Fantasy VII. I was able to play all this sort of thing on the Pratt in a way that satisfied me, although of course Celtic pieces sound a lot less “Celtic” on such an instrument.

    When I played the Pratt, I especially appreciated how the bass notes were never muddy. When I improvised, I could layer chords and patterns over each other and it didn’t just turn into soup. (This makes me sound like I know what I’m doing–but really I am just a self-taught player who needs to practice a lot more.)

    If I didn’t have any other considerations, I’d order an Empress and call it a day. 😉 I wouldn’t need to travel with the harp, except when it needed regulation, and I don’t need to worry about stairs. So from a pure playing standpoint, it would make me very happy.

    But I do have both environmental issues, and the important consideration of how to transport my harp in the event of a fire. I live not far from the Kinkade fire that is still burning now. Fires have become our “new normal” in Northern California, and this year for the first time we had an evacuation warning in my area. I can’t assume 2020 or 2021 won’t bring a fire that burns me out of my home.

    Those are the considerations that lead me to consider alternatives to Pratt at this point. In the community where I live, I might have to help others evacuate, which means I can’t load my car up with a lot of my own stuff. Of course I can get insurance for any instrument, but it’s a lot easier to imagine successfully evacuating with a harp that weighs 30 pounds than one that weighs 50.

    The Cromos is a better fit in terms of its size, but I imagine that such a fine instrument might be unhappy in my space, even if I keep it well conditioned with humidifiers, dehumidifiers, etc.

    This brings me back to those lovely, sturdy Camacs. I might be able to try some in southern California over the holiday.

    Thanks again for your lovely responses to my queries.

    • This reply was modified 6 days ago by  greenjudy.

    Participant
    wil-weten on #234647

    Hi greenjudy, you’re welcome. It would be great if you’d tell us your experiences with your the tasting of Camac harps over the holidays. You probably already know that even identical looking harps of the same harp manufacture can sound significantly different from each other, so, you may like to try all ‘identical’ ones of an interesting harp model and perhaps one of them will steal your heart. 🙂


    Participant
    greenjudy on #234991

    Thank you so much, wil-weten. There’s been a slight plot twist, and I am looking seriously at a second-hand Camac Stivell that might suit my needs. The weight is considerable–almost as much as a Pratt–but the harp is a little more compact and I think it will fit in my car.

    If my plans change and I end up tasting Camacs over the holidays, I will definitely share my impressions…! 🙂


    Participant
    wil-weten on #235008

    Hi greenjudy, sounds exciting! You probably already know that the harp was originally meant for lever gut tension. So, the feel and sound will be quite different from your earlier pedal gut strung Pratt and. The string tension will also be a bit lighter than is the case on your Camac Bardic.
    The Camac Stivell may in sound and feel be closer to the Thurau Cromos harp.

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