Podcast: The Harp’s Journey, with Catrin Finch


Catrin Finch BBC Sounds

Episode One

One of our oldest instruments, the harp has a long and noble history attached to it. From ancient Egypt, to troubadours and princely courts, the harp has held audiences captive for centuries. Instantly recognisable, its gilded beauty proudly announces its presence, yet beyond the glamour of its appearance, and a prominent role as a member of the modern orchestra, it remains one of the least well known instruments in the classical world.
As a touring musician, Catrin Finch has encountered music from the classical world and a host of other traditions. All of them have helped to shape her thinking and her knowledge of her instrument. In this three-part series the acclaimed virtuoso shares her insights, taking us on a surprising and a very personal journey.

Pivotal to her own musical evolution, in part one we hear the first pieces Catrin Finch came across, that convinced her to pick up the harp. She begins with her vivid memories of being six and hearing a sizzling performance given by Marisa Robles in a local concert hall in West Wales. The influence of the Welsh traditional harp and the 18th century composer John Parry, lead on to the 20th century fireworks of William Mathias, a composer who exploited the language of the harp in a completely modern way. Works by Fauré, Debussy and Ravel, some of the best loved works within the harp’s repertoire, are joined by Henriette Renié, a name of equal significance within the harp world, but who is little known if at all beyond that, but whose contribution to the instrument can be traced through the generations to harp players today.

With excerpts from:

Jésus Guridi: ‘Viejo Zortzico’
Marisa Robles, harp

Fauré: Impromptu no 6 in D flat major for harp, op 86
Marisa Robles, harp

Parry: Sonata no 3 (excerpt)
Elinor Bennett, harp

William Mathias: Santa fe suite
III: Sun Dance
Elinor Bennett, harp

Handel: Concerto for harp in B flat major, op 4 no 6, HWV 294
I: Andante Allegro
Andrew Lawrence King, harp
Stephen Stubbs, lute
Erin Headley, lirone
The Sixteen
Harry Christophers, director

Debussy: Danse Profane
Lavinia Meijer, harp
Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Ravel: Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet
Skaila Kanga, harp
Philippa Davies, flute
Michael Collins, Clarinet
The Nash Ensemble

Henriette Renié: Danse des Lutins
Susann Mc Donald, harp

Glière: Concerto for Harp, op 74
I: Moderato
Anneleen Lenaerts, harp
Brussels Philharmonic
Michel Tabachnik, conductor

Producer: Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

Source: The Harp’s Journey, with Catrin Finch – Episode 1 – BBC Sounds

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