What’s on your music stand? (February 2013)

Posted In: Repertoire

  • Participant
    Jerusha Amado on #61442

    Hi everyone!

    What pieces are you working on lately? How are things going in the wonderful world of harp? (Deb L–Please let us know how you’re doing!)

    I’ve been working on Sylvia Wood’s “Stairway to Heaven”. Thank you so much, Sylvia, for arranging this song!! She provides two levels of difficulty–easy and intermediate–for lever harp. I also just finished arranging “The Look of Love” and the theme from “Braveheart” for lever harp. I was inspired by Brook Boddie’s video of the “Braveheart” theme on YouTube to write my own arrangement.


    Allison Stevick on #61443

    What a fun idea for a forum! (I’ve noticed that most people–myself included–don’t really update their profiles that much, so this is great)
    I’ve been working on “The Butterfly,” arranging and trying to get up to speed (it’s been a long but fun process!). I received a Kim Robertson book for Christmas, so I’ve been playing through it a lot, too. Carolan’s Dream, Chanter, Arran Boat Song, and Skye Boat Song are the main ones so far.

    deb-l on #61444

    Hi Jerusha, Stairway to Heaven sounds beautiful on harp, I’ll have to look at that arrangement. Lately though I’ve been caught up on Carolan’s tunes. I finally memorized Carolan’s Concerto! I had to stop working on everything else to get it memorized and was worried about loosing the other tunes I had under my fingers.. It’s fun to play it very fast but I am trying to slow it down and work on a couple rough spots. The arrangement I’m learning is Domining Bouchard’s. I want to memorize his arr of La chanson de la mariee next. I can’t seem to play this music fluidly unless I memorize. Also been working out of Harbison’s Level three and and the ornamentation in Blind Mary and memorizing The Princess Royal. Bouchard’s arrangements sound more contemporary, sometimes dark and jazzy and I like the way they sound on the Dusty. Harbison’s are so beautiful in their simplicity, they sound so bright and the melody really shines, her music is perfect on the Aziliz.. thanks for starting this thread Jerusha!

    Jerusha Amado on #61445

    Who is the composer of “The Butterfly” and what is the song like?

    Jerusha Amado on #61446

    Wow! You’ve been busy!
    Could you talk more about Carolan’s Concerto? How long is it? Difficulty? Is it basically one tempo or does it have variation in tempi?
    Have you had a chance to work through any of the songs in the Pieces Classiques Vol. 5 book (Bouchard)?
    Isn’t it just wonderful to have several harps that you can use for different pieces so that you create the right sound for each work?

    Allison Stevick on #61447

    The Butterfly is a traditional slip jig, and the version I originally learned was Laurie Riley’s. I have seen/heard several different versions (both harp and non-harp) since then, and I really fell in love with the tune. I will try to add a youtube link to Kim Robertson playing it. I’ve changed it over time, mixing together different aspects of what I’ve heard and different sound “experiments” I’ve done myself… 🙂 I suspect it will be a work-in-progress for some time.

    Allison Stevick on #61448

    Oh, and because you both mentioned it, I just went and ordered Stairway to Heaven. In a few weeks when it arrives, I look forward to learning it!

    Jerusha Amado on #61449

    “The Butterfly” is a great tune! Thanks so much for sharing the videos!
    Let us know what you think of “Stairway to Heaven” after you learn it.
    Everybody’s bringing up some awesome harpists/arrangers: Laurie Riley, Sylvia Woods,Kim Robertson, Bouchard–so inspiring!

    andee-craig on #61450

    Lots of tunes listed that I already play–we should all play together! The Butterfly, Chanter, Arran Boat Song, Carolan’s Concerto. I’ve come up with my own version of Stairway to Heaven but really don’t have the whole thing figured out yet.

    New tunes I’ve been working on are the song ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’ because I decided I need more songs in my repertoire and the Irish slow air ‘An Raibh Tu ag an gCarraig?’ (‘Were You at the Rock?’). The song is quite easy, the slow air more challenging. I’m making up my own arrangements.

    Also I’ve started working on the the traditional Cornish song ‘I Love My Love’. And also trying to keep all my tunes under my fingers (which is no easy task!)

    Jerusha Amado on #61451

    Hi Andee,
    It’s wonderful that you’re arranging your own music! Did you have any training in this? Do you create the arrangements in your head and then play them by memory, or do you write them down and then play from the written music?

    It would be neat to play together!

    deb-l on #61452

    hi Jerusha, Bochaud’s arr of Carolan’s Concerto is 2 pages, so for me that was a lot to memorize. It’s one of his trickier arrangements, I can’t find a good performance of it on youtube. Depending on the arrangement this tune could be anywhere from advanced beginner to advanced intermediate. His arr is probably med-adv intermediate. I’ve been working out of his Panorama de la harpe cetique vol 2 almost exclusively since August. One of my favorites is Roslin Castle. The grace notes in the hard version are chilling! His arr of Princess Royal in vol1 has harmonics and is so divine. . my biggest struggle has been not to work on too many tunes at the same time. I have not started with his Pieces Classiques Vol 5 yet, but am looking forward to it!

    Andee, I struggle to keep songs under my fingers too. I used to spend all my time just trying to keep what I learned fresh and had no time to learn anything new! I think (hope) it gets easier over time to retain more, because I need focused time to work on new pieces too.. I’ve been trying to figure out just how much time I need to spend on the learned stuff to keep it, at this point I need to play a piece a couple times a week at least before it starts to deteriorate..

    I’m glad to hear you play Carolan’s Concerto too, it’s long been a goal of mine, isn’t it a fun tune? I hope to learn to arrange tunes myself someday too.

    Jerusha Amado on #61453

    Hi Deb,
    Is there a YouTube video of “Roslin Castle”? I don’t know the song, but would love to hear it!
    Keeping a number of songs going is a struggle for me as well! These days I run through 50 songs (in rotation–averaging about 5 per day) just to keep them from degrading. (I need this many for gigs when they come up.) It’s somewhat frustrating because I know that I could be learning a lot more new material if I didn’t have to play these pieces through every once in a while.

    deb-l on #61454

    Hi Jerusha, not on youtube but here is a sample clip from Amazon of Bouchaud playing it..
    I’ve heard recordings of other arrangements and it’s just not the same.. you can play it as a sample without buying the song for .99 cents.. to hear the embelishments..


    kreig-kitts on #61455

    Clare Grundman, Nocturne for Harp and Wind Ensemble. I should be getting a bunch of John Williams space movie music for a theme concert in late March, plus Jupiter and Mars from The Planets.

    brook-boddie on #61456

    Hi Jerusha,

    I’m working on some pieces from Kim Robertson’s Book “Windshadows II.” I believe this book was recently re-released after being out of print. “My Thousand Treasures” is what I’m currently working on. It’s a beautiful piece, although I take it at a much slower pace than the tempo marking. I’m also working on Rhett Barnwell’s “How Great Thou Art.” As with all his pieces, it’s very well written and falls under the fingers well. The Braveheart theme is from one of Angi Bemiss’ theater books. There are some other great pieces in there as well.

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