Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Charity Recital

Back in November we really enjoyed playing for the Surrey Care Trust helping to raise money for their Changing Young Lives Appeal. We thought you might like to see some pictures from the event where we were performing with the entertainer Richard Stilgoe.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Kendal Midday Concert Club - another rave review!

With four harps, it is inevitable that we all spend a lot of time driving around the UK to perform. This concert was no exception, with two of us making the six hour journey from London to the Lake District to perform for Kendal Midday Concert Club. In spite of the long drive, it was well worth the effort as we were wonderfully looked after and most enthusiastically received by the Club's audience for our final Christmas concert of the year on 16 December 2009. We were also fortunate to have the concert reviewed, and have included it below for you to read:

Kendal Midday Concert Club

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A dank, dismal day, the ‘Auld Grey Town’ looking leaden, the pre-Christmas pressures beginning to be felt; waiting for the start of the Midday Concert Club’s recital a fellow music-lover was describing his recent holiday in South Africa – “it was terrible”, he said, “the sun shone every day!” We clearly needed an immediate pick-me-up.

Prayers were quickly answered; on stage were four gleaming harps; soon these were joined by four young goddesses in red gowns; one of them (a Welsh deity) introduced each of them in turn and we knew that as soon as they started to play the exterior gloom would be replaced by an interior ambience that was glowing, luminous and utterly captivating.

Four Girls Four Harps perked up their audience with a magnificent display of virtuoso harp playing. Much of it took the form of their own skilful arrangements of familiar classics; some was original; but all was impeccably and excitingly played and introduced with a delightful informality and humour.

The Kendalian murk eventually re-enveloped us - not that it mattered now: we were almost ready for Christmas!

Brian Paynes.

Basingstoke Concert Club - Rave Review!

We have realy enjoyed rounding off this year of concerts with some Christmas-themed performances, and were fortunate enough have some of them reviewed. Below is the review from our concert for Basingstoke Concert Club on 5 Decemer 2009:

Four Girls Four Harps
Basingstoke Concert Club
Trinity Methodist Church, Basingstoke

Members of the audience were greeted by an impressive sight as they entered. At the front of the church were ranged four handsome instruments, each harp different from the others, gold, polished wood, dark and light, ornamented and plain. We were to be entertained by the Barkham Harp Quartet, Eleanor Turner, Keziah Thomas, Harriet Adie and Angharad Wyn Jones.

What an unusual ensemble this was. Their programme consisted mainly of arrangements of works for other combinations of instruments, most of them done most skilfully by members of the group. Their playing was characterised by a charming rapport with one another, and with the audience, each displaying virtuosic skill, yet blending seamlessly together.

They opened with movements from Handel’s Water Music, and continued with extracts from Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite. This was followed by arrangements of Christmas carols, in the style of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. The audience had fun trying to work out which of the familiar tunes were disguised in these very interesting settings.Movements from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite lent themselves well to the harps, especially the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, but we must all have been wondering what they would make of Saint Saens’s Carnival of the Animals -how do you portray an elephant on harps? – but they managed it.

Perhaps the most interesting piece was Saraswati by Edward Longstaff, inspired by Indian music combined with a minimalist style. The Quartet had, on previous occasions, been joined to play this by Sanju Sahai on the Indian tabla. We were not privileged to hear this unusual blend of eastern and western culture, but nevertheless, the harps alone produced some fascinating new sounds and motifs.

Members of the quartet were happy to explain and demonstrate some of the mysteries of harp technique and construction, and ended their recital with two encores, an arrangement of the well-known Sleigh Ride, and another of Gershwin’s Summertime. The large and enthusiastic audience was treated to an enjoyable and attractive programme by a group of highly talented and committed young musicians.

The Concert was sponsored by Lynn Ten Kate in memory of her friend Roland Weisz, who died a year ago.

David Lucas