practical news, for practical harpists

Forums » Professional Harpists » Very advanced classical rep for...

About Forums

Welcome to the Harp Column forums. Please read the Terms and Conditions before posting. By using this forum, you agree to adhere to these terms.

Want to add links or emphasis to your posts? Read the Harp Column blog about posting shortcuts.

Very advanced classical rep for lever harp

  • anita
    anita burroughs-price

    I am seeking classical repertoire for very advanced lever harpist. I

    know of Barbara Brundage's "Claire de Lune" and "First Arabesque." It

    needs to be musically substantial, not holiday related. The pieces

    need to be over 3 minutes. We are building two 50 minute programs, so

    I am grateful for your suggestions.


    Anita Burroughs-Price

    replies to "Very advanced classical rep for lever harp"
    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Hi, Anita. Besides my stuff there is "Telynn" by Houdy, Epices and Danses d'Automne by

      Andres, a good deal of Hovahness, St. George's Watch by Laura Zaerr. She has a piece in

      'Dancing with the Stars' which is based on the big arpeggios in Au Matin. The 6th book of

      'Classiques de la harpe' by Bouchaud includes "The Harmonious Blacksmith" and some

      Bach and Sweelinck.

      There is a huge amount of baroque music that can be adapted as well. Just listen to

      someone like John Manno. Some of the pieces from the first stage of Israel last time were

      written for hook harp and are quite playable on a lever harp although I personally find

      them musically a bit tedious.

      Unfortunately there aren't a lot of big classical pieces published specifically for lever harp

      yet. You'll be surprised what you can do if you put your mind to it, but you'll probably have

      to do some arranging/adapting to get that amount of advanced music.

      Other advanced arrangements of mine are the Loeillet and the Haydn Theme and

      Variations (in 18th century music) and Rumores de la Caleta by Albeniz, which is in

      Classics on Request 3.

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Oh, I forgot to say that Anne Marie O'Farrell plays "Watching the Wheat" by John Thomas,

      although I don't know how. "The Minstrel's Adieu' is adaptable, of course. Also forgot to

      mention the Glinka Variations if you drop the one in harmonics.

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Oh, and don't overlook the transcription of Soeur Monique in "Medieval to Modern."

    • Tacye
      Tacye Phillipson

      The exam syllabi at www.abrsm.org and www.trinitycollege.co.uk (click on music) are graded repertoire lists which may give you some ideas, though the lever harp lists are less varied than for pedal.

    • Laurie
      Laurie Muirhead

      Anita,  Another arrangement by Barbara Brundage is Handel's 'Passacaille'.  Also, Handel's 'Bb Concerto' arranged by Odette LeDentu.

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      For the Handel Concerto you might also look at the edition by Ank van Campen that Salvi

      publishes. It's a bit fuller. (You can play the first and third mvts of the Grandjany edition if

      you omit the enharmonice doublings and subsitutions.)

    • anita
      anita burroughs-price

      Thank you all for your gracious assistance. I have already ordered 11 new books.

      Keep the suggestions coming!


    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      There is also an excellent volume of serious contemporary music available for lever harp from the UK.  This was developed in response to a revamping of their non-pedal harp syllabus by the Trinity College of Music and is now used extensively in both the Trinity and Associated Boards syllabi (the latter having been completely updated recently).  It is entitled "Lever Harp 2000" and has 11 very advanced modern pieces for the lever harp.  I've only been able to order it from the UK, but it is definitely worth it for advanced lever harp players.  You can find it here:


    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Another one that I forgot to mention is the Godefroid "Romance sans paroles (Bois

      solitaire)", which works very well indeed if you transpose it up a step. There are just two or

      three places where you have to leave out the bottom note of an octave.

    • Rachel
      Rachel Avery

      I know this is an old thread, but it's a great list of music.  Laura Zaerr's more recent works are rhythmic and challenging. I'd also like to add Savourna Stevenson's music, which you can find at european sites easily (for instance, Emily's Calling is amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lww5rbY2qvc). In addition, I don't know if other Backofen pieces would work, but I own these two and can vouch for them (need B levers for B flats). 

      Sonata per Arpa e Violino by Heinrich Backofen (UT.MAG-10) [Harp and violin]
      Sontata per Arpa by Heinrich Backofen (UT.MAG-25) [Harp solo]

      Samples can be seen here:

    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      The Rachmaninoff choral "Ave Maria" - play the piano rehearsal part on the harp as written - there are no lever changes - it is quite lovely

    • Alison
      Alison P

      I can suggest Three Diatonic Preludes (Buxton Orr/OUP) and Deborah HC's Natalia. Also you could find ideas in the Trinity and AB grade lists, at grades 7 and 8.
      see http://www.trinitycollege.co.uk/site/?id=1054
      and http://www.abrsm.org/?page=exams/gradedMusicExams/latestSyllabuses.html

    • Cynthy
      Cynthy Johnson

      That YouTube version of "Emily's Calling" played by Janet Whitman was videographed by my husband, Stephen.  I asked Janet for a copy of the music, but she adapted that version from an ensembled version.  Perhaps there is a solo lever harp version available currently.

    • Cynthy
      Cynthy Johnson

      Oh, I just remembered ... it was "Swan LK 243" by Catriona McKay that was adapted from an ensemble version .. and not "Emily's Calling".  Janet was able to obtain "Emily's Calling" from sheet music.

      Janet's version of  "Swan LK 243" is beautiful as well ..


    • Kathy
      Kathy Chanik

      Cynthy, I also love Janet's version of  Catriona McKay's piece Swan Lake, I've heard her play it solo at Somerset last year and at BITM in Williamsburg a month ago.  I asked Janet there if she could give out the sheet music for her version, but Catriona McKay has not authorized this, so I came home and transcribed it for myself only from Janet's YouTube performance.  This is not too difficult to do if you put it into full screen mode, and it's REALLY good for ear training.   Just a beautiful piece.  Highly worth the time.

    • Saul
      Saul Davis Zlatkovski

      Some of the movements of Hovhaness's Suite can be played on a nonpedal harp. Perhaps the most outstanding work of all is Alexandre Tcherepnin's Quatre Caprices Diatoniques. Lou Harrison composed several pieces for nonpedal harp. Salzedo has many that can be played on nonpedal harps, especially a larger one, such as a Prelude.

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Yes, Hovahness's Garden of Adonis for flute and harp works beautifully, too. You just set the levers ahead of time.

      There's a great deal more stuff available than there was when this thread began.

      One caution about some of the exam syllabus pieces--a lot of the more advanced lever harp music arranged by European teachers requires tuning in four flats.

    • Rachel
      Rachel Avery

      Thanks for mentioning that Barbara.  I don't understand tuning with 4 flats. I see D sharps come up far more often than D flats.  Is that fairly standard for European lever harp arrangements?

    • Rachel
      Rachel Avery

      Which of the pieces that Saul mentions require 4 flats?

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      I'm not talking about Saul's recommendations. I was referring to the pieces on the exam syllabi, like the ABRSM and the Trinity syllabus.