Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Our Latest Review

We recently performed for the Tewkesbury Awaken Your Senses Festival and we thought you would like to see the review of the concert:


Awaken Your Senses Festival: 4 Girls 4 Harps - Watson Memorial Hall, Tewkesbury
Monday 14th September 2009
Crackerjack rating: 8 / 10.

Tewkesbury's Awaken your Senses Festival certainly fulfilled its promise in its grand finale. While the solo harp features regularly in recitals, harp ensembles do not - an omission that 4 Girls 4 Harps and the Festival seem determined to change.

The repertoire for four harps cannot be extensive, so a number of the works played were transcriptions made by members of the ensemble. This worked well with Handel's lively La Rejouissance from the Royal Fireworks Music, but strangely it was not so effective in the selection from Ravel's Mother Goose, apart from the Empress of the Pagodas with its wonderful rippling Oriental textures. Saint Saens Carnival of the Animals, however, was a great success. The Swan glided along on the flowing music, and the Aquarium glittered with aquatic life. The evocation of the Elephant was especially amusing with plenty of sonorous sounds from the bottom register.

The evening was enlivened by a well presented history of the harp from the lyre of Ancient Mesopotamia to the double action pedal harp of today with examples of music from bygone ages. Three original works served to demonstrate the versatility of the instruments. Eleanor Turner's Rambla! evoked the atmosphere of Spain with flamenco dance rhythms and torrential rainfall. Harriet Adie's Sun, Moon and Stars focussed on the searing heat of the Middle East and the cool, eerie stillness of the desert at night. Saraswati by Edward Longstaff presented a number of challenges to the performers. Its minimalist nature succeeded in creating a trance-like atmosphere well suited to its Eastern religious theme - and was the culmination of a fascinating and varied programme by four musicians of exceptional talent.

Roger Jones

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