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An overview of my recent recordings

Since leaving the London Philarmonic, I have been able to concentrate on building up a new solo repertoire,composing, and playing chamber music.

CD: Sacred and ProfaneMy greatest joy is performing with the magisterial violinist Michael Bochmann whose many musical insights have inspired my own performances.

For many concerts, we have also been joined by the soprano, Jane Leslie Mackenzie. She is well known in many Opera Houses, including Covent Garden,and is a remarkable artist. For many of her classical opera arias, I have arranged accompaniments for violin and harp. This combination sounds like a miniature orchestra.

The combination of violin and harp, as in our recording,"Sacred and Profane," thrills me more than the combination of flute and harp.

CD: Music for Flute and HarpThe flute with harp is a delicious combination, mellifluous and pleasing and much music has been written for these two instruments including Mozart's famous Concerto. In "Music for Flute and Harp" Clive Conway and I perform music by Mozart, Krumpholtz(Haydn's harpist at Esterhazy) and other classical composers. Jill Hughes joins us in the beautiful Interlude from the "Childhood of Christ" by Berlioz.


CD: Concerti and Chamber MusicThe famous Baroque violinist, Simon Standage and the Saloman Quartet joined me in "Concerti and Chamber Music" for some exquisite and important eighteenth century harp music. J.C.Bach's Harp Trio(Sonata VI) was written expressly for the harp, rare in a time when music was so often interchangeable between instruments. I rewrote Mozart's beautiful "Adagio and Rondo" for Glass Harmonica for the Harp and with accompaniment for the String Quartet. J.C.Bach's Sinfonia Concerto was published in Paris "for harp or clavier"and is a composition of exceptional vitality. The recording is completed by two works by Haydn.

CD: Eternal DreamerThe "Eternal Dreamer" was recorded in St Mary's Church, Chipping Norton, a venue with the most extraordinary accoustics for concerts and recordings. It is a collection of contrasted Romantic, Impressionist and Modern Pieces which show off the huge range of dynamics and colours possible on the harp.

Prokoviev's three Harp pieces, astringent and fascinating, are played together for the first time. William Mathias's stunning Improvisations, written for me, have huge contrasts in dynamic rhythms and poetry, despite their Grevity. The Cancion y Danza was re-written for me by the composer Antonio Ruiz-Pipo and is performed with remembrances of Renaissance Spain. The Petite Suite was my first composition, winning an International Competition in the U.S.A. and played now by harpists all over the world.

The "In Memoriam" was written in my agony of Iraq and the Asian Tsunami. The last chord, suddenly in the major, invites hope. The Nocturnes by Glinka, Parish-Alvars and Liszt are in sensitive romantic modes and lovely melodic phrases. The two Zabel pieces are in the grand romantic tradition and the Debussy sounding better on the harp than the piano? The recording opens with four characteristic compositions by Marcel Tournier.These explore every aspect of the harp's rich palette of colours.

CD:  Glory of the HarpThe "Glory of the Harp" brings together some of the most important pieces of eighteen century harp music. Included also are some earlier compositions.I have always wanted to record on a "single-action" harp. This type of harp was so important at the moment when the early forte-piano was competing with the harpsichord.It was louder and more expressive than contemporary keyboard instruments and spawned a vast number of compositions which are still unknown.

Mozart's famous Sonata in C was played by Francois Petrini (son of the harpist to Frederic the Great) and the Sonatas of Dussek and Cardon give one an idea of contemporary styles.Handel's Variations in Bb may have been written for the Harp and a late eighteenth century version exists. The Mozart Variations by Jean Baptiste Mayer and the Spohr Variations by Philip James Meyer are high points in harp compositions of the period and of course Lois Spohr's famous Fantasia in C minor is one of the great adornments of classical harp repertoire.This recording also includes Sonatas by Parry and Casanovas.

CD: Triumph of Time, Part IThe two CD's of the "Triumph of Time" are subtitled "A Celebration of Love" as the songs and arias show Love in all its aspects. "The Triumph of Time" was Handel's first Oratorio written in Italy in 1707. Handel was 22 at the time and his extraordinary genius was already evident.

The last track on the first CD "Tu del ciel ministro eletto" is the last aria of this Oratotio with a violin obligato written for Corelli. During the recording I was moved to tears by the extraordinary music and Jane Leslie Mackenzie's wonderful singing.

CD: Triumph of Time Part IIThe CD's include Handel's Largo, Where ere you walk, Ch'io Pianga etc: Included are great Arias by Purcell, Mozart, some great religious Arias, such as Bizet's Agnus Dei and Bach-Gounod's Ave Maria. Interspersed are instrumental interludes including my latest composition "A Welsh Landscape".



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An Overview of my Discography

My first solo recordings were made when I became a Solo Recording Artist for R.C.A. and was able to record my Petite Suite for the first time. Also, a record of some of my favourite Spanish pieces which I often include in my recital programmes.

I recorded Ravel's Introduction and Allegro with the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Gerhardt. Both Zabeleta and I were heavily criticised for playing the work with extra strings. However I found a letter from Ravel to the conductor Ingelbrecht where he states that the work with extra strings would sound "better than the original"!! This recording became a best seller in the United States.

A very special memory is my friendship with the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly. We re-wrote together his powerful "Wainamoinen Makes Music" for choir and Harp

Elizabeth Poston loved the harp and wrote "An English Day Book" for me and the Farnham Girls Choir. She also included beautiful harp parts and solos in "Welcome Child of Mary" which was founded on her "Penguin Book of English Carols."

I have never forgotton the recording of Guillaume de Mauchaut's music with the singer Nigel Rogers. The music still haunts me and I accompanied Nigel in "Nuls ne doit avoir merveille" on the small harp.

Andrzej  Panufnik's "Universal Prayer" is an astonishing and moving piece scored for solo singer, three solo harps, organ and choir. We were all rather frightened as Stokowski was so difficult to follow.

In the "Roman Dream" by Alun Hoddinott, I can still remember Margaret Price's memorable voice.

When I joined the "London Early Music Group" directed by James Tyler I thought I was in a musical heaven, although sometimes it was difficult commuting between a very small medieval harp and a very large modern concert harp.

In "Songs of the Hebridies" I collaborated with the singer Alison Pearce. I was completely beguiled by the music even though-and perhaps inappropriately-I accompanied the songs on a modern concert harp. However, it seems to have worked.

Raymond Leppard in his voluptuous orchestrations of Baroque Operas (the way he combined continuo instruments-harpsichords, lute and harp) made a huge impression on me. His "Leppardisatious" probably wouldn't be acceptable now- but how dramatic and exciting they were. One day, playing harp continuo in "Ritorno d'Ulisse" at Glynebourne, I broke a pedal spring in the Overture. Starting to sweat quietly, as there was another one and a half hours before the interval, I had to keep kicking the pedal up with a stocking foot. Apologising to Ray, he said "I thought you were rather slow on the uptake tonight."!

The harp plays an important role in the music of Elgar and Vaughan Williams. The lovely variations on "Dives and Lazarus" and the "Wasps" Suite by Vaughan Williams have prominent and tricky harp parts which lend a voluptuous romantisism to the music.

I was only 19 (with two years of harping behind me) when I played with the National Youth Orchestra. The harp arpeggi at the end of the Overture come out loud and clear!

The Trojans by Berlioz was one of the most spectacular productions when I was at the Royal Opera House. A battery of six harps sounded as impressive as they looked and the touching Aria "Chant d'Iopas" has a beautiful harp obligato.(see Music Gallery for photographs).

Nicolai Gedda was one of the great tenors that sang at Covent Garden and it was wonderful to accompany him.

Massenet's Werther has one of the most beautiful harp parts in any opera -not too difficult but very effective.

Rudolf Kempe was for me the greatest of all conductors-a musicians conductor-and I remember him guiding me through the tricky harp obligato in Bruch's Scottish Fantasy with Kyung-Wha Chung.

Leoncavallo's Pagliacci has a very telling harp part in a very exciting score and what an impressive line-up of famous singers!

When my father was confused about me wanting to become a profesional harpist, Sir Adrian Boult gave us much support (see letters) and so it was special to play under his baton, and of course the music of the Elgar was dear to his heart. I first played Britten's" Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra" under his baton and before the solo, was confused by the bar lines and suddenly PLAY BOY!!!

Alicia de Larrocha is one of my favourite pianists of all time-she made a single note sound so beautiful and with such carrying power. Ravel's Piano Concerto in G has a lovely and evocative Harp Cadenza.

Haitink recorded Stravinsky's Firebird with three harps (myself, Cherry Isherwoods,Frank Sternefeld) and what an exciting score.
I shall never forget recording the Valse des Fleurs Cadenza (The Nutcracker Suite) with Stokowski. He could not see very well and when I started to play, he shouted "Is it a Boy" (that took a long time to live down...) and kept on saying "I want it more 'ad libitum'." So I added lots of glissandi at the end. "No, I want it more 'ad libitum'," I am afraid I shouted back "Maestro, Isn't it 'ad libitum' enough. That kept him quiet!!  Vernon Handley, a greatly underestimated conductor, a disciple of Boult and with a similar technique, has been a great champion of English Music. Vaughan Williams' Greensleeves has a lovely but simple harp part.

Sir George Solti was an energetic and exciting conductor with a confusing beat. However I have a great debt of gratitude to him, as his protege, I was shown how to play in the orchestra. He became a champion of English Music and I recorded and played Elgar's Symphonies many times.

"La Mer" is certainly my most favourite composition by Debussy and the harps are an integral part of the tone palette. Debussy also wrote well for the harp so the parts are a delight to play. The opening of "Prelude a I'apres midi d'un faune" is lent impressionistic magic by a soft harp glissando after the flute solo.

Rimsky-Korsakov used the harp in "Capriccio Espagnol" to enhance the Spanish Atmosphere, and there is also a brilliant cadenza which is most enjoyable to play.

John Prichard was a consummate musician and elegant conductor. His direction of Mozart Operas was legendary.

Bartok's second violin concerto has a very effective but difficult harp part and opens with solo harp. It is a fascinating work with many quicksilver changes of mood.

Klaus Tennstedt was an extraordinary conductor and probably the finest when it came to the interpretations of Mahler and Bruckner. Juliana Markova, the pianist, was on tour with him in the United States and told me how wonderful he was, so I told Eric Bravington (the L.P.O.Chairman) about him and the rest is history!

Mahler's songs with orchestral accompaniment have a powerful simplicity and the harp is often a pivotal part in the orchestration. In Mahler's 5th Symphony, the adagietto became famous in the film "Death in Venice". Tennstedt always wanted the harp to sound important in this movement for strings and harp and not "thin rain drop sounds" as in some recordings. He always gave me confidence in the difficult "placing"of the notes.

In the last part of "Ariadne auf Naxos" the harps have a very prominent but tricky part to play. In a semi-staged performance at the Royal Albert Hall, I broke another pedal spring in the first part and wondered what we should do. As the harps and the piano were at the side of the stage, we upended the harp (I thought nobody would notice) but a new spring would not fit. We managed the parts quite favourably and maybe nobody noticed a little bit of simplification. However the music critic praised the performance and added: "Towards the end of the opera, there was a commotion in the orchestra when one of the harps was up-ended and adjustments seemingly being made. I suppose this is quite usual in the pit at Glyndebourn but on the stage at the Royal Albert Hall it was altogether too fascinating".

Job. A Masque for Dancing by Vaughan Williams is a rather lugubrious piece and certainly not a barrel of laughs-We always felt rather depressed after performing it.

Not much harp in this wonderful Requiem by Brahms and the harp is silent after the second movement and only appears in the last few bars. One prays that it has stayed in tune.

Again one of Vaughan Williams' telling harp parts in the "Sinfonia Antartica". I shall never forget Tennstedt's recording of Mahler's 8th Symphony-the "Symphony of a Thousand". The excitement, the changes of mood, fine singers and the thundering organ at the end. The harps only enter about 45 minutes after the beginning and then there is a moment of repose with the strings and solo harp. It is a moment of sheer musical magic.

I am covered in confusion when I remember (and many people too-no doubt) when I was so nervous that I got the chimes of Big Ben wrong -that was long before this magnificent recording conducted by Bernard Haitink of Vaughan Williams' London Symphony.

The Wagner Scenes with Jessys Norman and Tennstedt was my last orchestral recording with the London Philharmonic. Jessye Norman's vocal equipment was so extraordinary that she could sustain melodic lines so slowly and yet with such a warm tone. "Isn't she wonderful" I said to a colleague "Yes he said"-"If you like a bucket of cream thrown over you." During one take of the Liebestod, tears were running down my face and I could not see the music and I did not play. I was worried that it might have been Jessye's best take. Klaus said "don't worry- we shall do it again" and then I packed up my harp and left the orchestra....


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Partial Discography 1957 - 1989
Title, Label, Number Composer Solo Soloist Ensemble
The Romantic Harp
Louis Spohr
Nicholas Bochsa
Mickhail Glinka
Felix Godefroid
Franz Liszt

Albert Zabel

Frédéric Chopin
Elias Parish Alvars
Alphonse Hasselmans
Henriette Renié
Fantasy in C Minor
Study in A
Concert Study
Consolations No. 3
The Nightingale
The Fountain
Sad Marguerite at the Spinning Wheel
Nocturne/Prelude in C Minor
Romance in A Flat
Chanson de Mai/Follets

The Kingdom
RCA Red Seal - RK87862 (2)
Edward Elgar   Yvonne Kenny
Alfreda Hodgson
Christopher Gillet
Benjamin Luxon
Leonard Slatkin

Scenes from Tristan und Isolde, Tannhäuser, Der Fliegende Holländer, Götterdämmerung
EMI - 7 49759 1
Richard Wagner   Jesse Norman LPO
Klaus Tennstedt

A London Symphony
EMI - EL 7 49394 1
Ralph Vaughan Williams     LPO
Bernard Haitink

Symphony No. 8
EMI - 27 0434 3
Gustav Mahler     LPO
Klaus Tennstedt

King Olaf
EMI - EX 27 0553 3
Edward Elgar   Teresa Cahill
Philip Langridge
Brian Rayner Cook
Vernon Handley

Symphony No. 1
Chandos - ABRD 1161
Edward Elgar     LPO
Bryden Thomson

La Mer, Prélude à l'aprè-midi
d'un faune, Jeux

EMI - EMX 41 20901
Claude Debussy     LPO
Serge Baudo

Five Variants of
Dives and Lazarus,
Wasps - Aristophanic Suite
EMI - EMX 41 20821
Ralph Vaughan Williams Strings & harp only in Dives:
harp obligato in Wasps
Vernon Handley

Sinfonia Antartica
EMI - 27 0318 1
Ralph Vaughan Williams   Sheila Armstrong LPO
Bernard Haitink

Ein Deutsches Requiem
EMI - 27 0313 1
Johannes Brahms   Jessye Norman LPO
Klaus Tennstedt

Job - A Masque for Dancing
EMI - EMX 41 20561
Ralph Vaughan Williams     LPO
Vernon Handley

Symphony No. 3
EMI - SLS 5195
Gustav Mahler     LPO
Klaus Tennstedt

Ariadne auf Naxos
DECCA - D103D 3
Richard Strauss   Leontyne Price
Edita Gruberova
René Kollo
Tatiana Troyanos
Walter Berry
Erich Kunz
Sir Georg Solti

Symphony No. 5
Symphony No 10  (Adagio)

EMI - SLS 5169
Gustav Mahler Adagietto for strings and harp   LPO
Klaus Tennstedt

CBS Masterworks - 76282
Gustav Mahler   Fredrica von Stade
Andrew Davis

Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria
CBS Masterworks - 79332
Claudio Monteverdi Harp Obligato Fredrica von Stade
Richard Stilwell
Raymond Leppard

Lambert & Butler Master Series
CFP 40313
Edward Elgar     LPO
Vernon Handley

The Dawn of Romance
EMI - CSD 3785
Music of the Troubadors Ensemble with Mediaeval Harp   Martin Best 1978

Symphony No. 1
EMI - ASD 3541
Gustav Mahler     LPO
Klaus Tennstedt

Violin Concerto No. 2
DECCA - SXL 6802
Bela Bartók   Kyung-Wha Chung LPO
Sir Georg Solti

Songs of the Hebrides
Meridian - E77008
  Land of H eart's Desire
A 13 C. Love Lilt
Sleeps the noon in the deep
blue sky
Heart of Fire-Love
The Wild Swan
Birds at the Fairy Fulling
Dance to your Shadow
Uist Cattle Croon
The Witchery Milking Croon
Kishmul's Galley
The Black Loorgin
An Eriskay Love Lilt
The Rune of Columcill
The Harper
Loch Leven Love Lament
A Fairy's Love Song
Skye Water-Kelpie's Lullaby
The Cockle Gatherer
Benbecula Bridal Procession
Aignish on the Machair

Alison Pearce   1978

Music for All Seasons
RCA Red Seal - RL 25159(2)
Philip van Wilder
Richard Pygott
Robert Fayrfax
Je fille Dieu me donne de quay
Madame d'Amours
Quid Petis, O Fily?
benedicite! Whate Dremyd I?
Jay Pryse Amours (Harp solo)
Paul Elliott
Paul Elliott
Paul Elliott
London Early Music Group
James Tyler

Introduction and Allegro
and French Music

RCA Red Seal - RL 25094
Maurice Ravel
  William Bennett
James Brown
Charles Gerhart

Spanish Music for Harp
RCA - RL 25099
Antonio de Cabezon
Lucas Riuz de Ribayz
Alonso Mudarra
Manuel Blasco de Nebra
Rafael Angles
Antonio Soler
Joaquin Turina
Isaac Albeniz
Lopez Chavarri
Antonio Ruiz-Pipo

Manuel de Falla
Pavane & Variations
Tiento and Fantasia
Sonata No. V
Aria in D Minor
Two Sonatas
Sacro Monte
El Viejo Castillo Moro
Cancion y Danza
Danse du Corregidor
Danse du Meunier

William Byrd and His

RCA Red Seal - RL 25110
Robert Johnson
Thomas Morley
John Dowland
William Byrd
Satyres Masque
Alman (Harp solo)
Can Shee Excuse
Praise Our Lord, All Ye Gentiles
Wedded to Will is Witless
Paul Elliott London Early Music Group
James Tyler

An American in Paris
Porgy & Bess Suite

WD & HO Wills Master Series
CFP 40240

George Gershwin     LPO
John Pritchard

Music for Harp
RCA Red Seal - LRL1 5087
William Croft
John Parry
Thomas Arne
Narciso Cassanovas
Antonio Soler
Domenico Scarlatti
Louis Spohr
Marcel Tournier
Lennox Berkely
David Watkins
Sonata in D
Gigue from Sonata No.3 in G
Sonata in F
Sonata in E Minor
Sonata in G
Fantasie in C Minor
Vers La Source dans Le Bois
Petite Suite

Capriccio Italien
Capriccio Espagnol

EMI - ASD 3093
Peter Tchaikovsky
Solo cadenza in Espagnol   LPO
Sir Adrian Boult

La Mer, prelude a l'arpe midi
d'un faune, Masques et
Bergamasques Suite

WD & HO Wills Master Series
CFP 40231

Claude Debussy
Gabriel Fauré
Vernon Handley

Symphony No.2
DECCA - SXL 6723
Edward Elgar     LPO
Sir Georg Solti

Fantasia on Greensleeves
WD & HO Wills Master Series
CFP 40068
Ralph Vaughan Williams     LPO
Vernon Handley

The Nutcraker Suite
Capriccio Italien

Philips - 6599 766
Peter Tchaikovsky Valse des Fleurs - cadenza   LPO
Leopold Stokowski

Philips - 6599 620
Igor Stravinsky     LPO
Bernard Haitink

Philips - 6599 621
Igor Stravinsky     LPO
Bernard Haitink

La Bohéme
RCA Red Label - ARL2 0371
Giacomo Puccini   Placido Domingo
Montserrat Caballé
Sherrill Milnes
Georg Solti

Concerto for Left Hand
Concerto for Piano & Orch
Fantaisie for Piano & Orch

DECCA - EXL 6680
Cadenza in piano concerto Alicia De Larrocha LPO
Lawrence Foster
Rafael Frühbeck De Burgos

Falstaff, The Sanguine Fan
EMI - ASD 2970
Edward Elgar     LPO
Sir Adrian Boult

RCA Red Seal - SER 5635/6
Ruggiero Leoncavallo   Placido Domingo
Montserrat Caballé
Sherrill Milnes
Barry McDaniel
Loe Goeke
Nello Santi

Scottish Fantasia
DECCA - SXL 6573
Max Bruch Harp obligato Kyung-Wha Chung RPO
Rudolf Kempe

Roman Dream
Argo - ZRG 691
Alun Hoddinott   Margaret Price
Gerald English
Cardiff Festival Players
James Lockhart

EMI - ASD 3794
Jules Massenet   Alfredo Kraus
Tatiana Troyanos
Jules Bastin
Michel Plasson

Universal Prayer
Unicorn - RHS 305
Andre Panufnik Harp solos and
April Cantelo
Helen Watts
Roger Stalman
John Mitchinson
The Louis Halsey Singers
Leopold Stokowski

Les Troyens
Philips - 6500 029
Hector Berlioz Chant d'lopas Ian Partridge Royal Opera House
Colin Davis

Popular Arias
EMI - ASD 3794
Various   Nicolai Gedda Royal Opera House
Giuseppe Patané

Guillaume de Mauchaut
L'oiseau-Lyre - SOL310
Guillaume de Mauchaut Nuls ne doit avoir merveille
and other ensemble pieces
Nigel Rogers The Ourcell Choir with
Instrumental Ensemble
Grayston Burgess

Welcome, Child of Mary
EMI - HQS 1092
  Several Solos Margaret Price
Pamela Bowden
James Christiansen
Ambrosian Singers
The Garvent Orchestra
Douglas Robinson

Farnham Festival
ERASE - EO 181
Elizabeth Poston An English Day Book   Aldershot County High
School Festival Choir
Pamela Verrall

Kodaly Girls' Choir
of Budapest

Columbia / EMI - SX 6014
Benjamin Britten
Zoltán Kodály
Balulalow, This Little Babe
Wainamoinen Makes Music
  Kodaly Girls' Choir of
Ilona Andor

National Youth Orchestra GB PYE - CCL 30105
Georges Bizet L'Arlesienne   The National Youth
Orchestra of Great Britain
Walter Susskind


Reviews of Recordings

CONCERTI and CHAMBER MUSICConcerti and Chamber Music
Meridian: CDE 84425
Harp and String Quartet
CD - current release

"What a delightful and civilised record, which I love. I hope you sell huge quantities of it."

Professor H.C. Robbins Landon(The great Mozart-Haydn Scholar)

"It is a genuine musical, pleasure to hear lovely works, new to me, composed by J.C. Bach, Mozart and Haydn. When these works are so beautifully and musically played the pleasure is even greater."

Lady Evelyn Barbirolli  3rd July 2000.

CONCERTI and CHAMBER MUSIC     15th April 2000

The balance of the solo instruments and their tone and the location of the recording make it all sound extremely fine and its all most attractive lovely music from a most beautiful age. We both seem to agree about many things in music, above all about tempo!! I love ALL your tempi, which for me, leave the music free to speak to us and never to ever think of or to feel encumbered by the harps limitations. It's all most delightful throughout. The string bowing all sounds very sensible and clear to me and right for the music.Your trills are still utterly amazing as is the speed and accuracy of your playing even in what sounds to me tricky passage work. As well as your usual brilliance the clarity is at all times faultless! I hope and pray that it will be well and kindly received by the critics.

I often wished I'd studied with you and become something like you as a player, but it was not to be for there was too much demand on my time!!

You are now one of the greatest players anywhere in the world, and wish you every happiness for the future.

Harpist to the Chieftains.


This is a beautifully played and recorded concert of the popular French repertoire, a recital remarkable for a performance of Ravel's Introduction and Allegro with multiple strings rather than a solo string quartet. In effect this turns the piece into a Concerto for harp and chamber orchestra; rather surprisingly it comes off, though it does change the character of the work considerably.

The sound is immediate, crisp and clean, often deserving of our superlative grading-Strongly recommended.

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