The Harp's Journey, With Catrin Finch

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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

Catrin Finch begins her travels with the music that ignited her passion for the harp.

Catrin Finch shares her insights, taking us on a surprising and a very personal journey.

0220210516One 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 over centuries. Instantly recognisable, its gilded beauty proudly announces its presence, yet beyond the glamour of its appearance, and a prominent position in 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.

As the leading harpist of her generation, Catrin Finch has done a huge amount to move the harp to centre stage. Historically a solo instrument, in the 19th century composers came to recognise the harp's value as an orchestral instrument. The music of Berlioz, Mahler or Tchaikovsky would be unthinkable without the harp.

In this programme, Catrin Finch reveals the surprising number of avenues down which she and other prominent figures have taken the harp. Moving the harp firmly back into the spotlight across every kind of genre, she talks about her own collaboration with composer John Rutter and the challenges of transcribing JS Bach's Goldberg Variations. The celebrated harpist Osian Ellis's collaboration with Benjamin Britten resulted in an iconic contribution to harp repertoire, while Catherine Michel's association with Michel Legrand took the harp into the field of cinema. The innovations of Alexander Boldachev, part of a new generation of performers, are pushing the instrument's boundaries in yet more unexpected directions.

With music from:

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
II: le Bal
Les siècles
François-Xavier Roth, director

Mahler: Symphony no 5
II: Adagietto
Vienna Philharmonic
Pierre Boulez, conductor

Rimsky-Korsakov, arr. Boldachev
Fantaisie, op 14 after Shéhérazade, op 35
Alexander Boldachev, harp

Legrand: Les parapluies de Cherbourg, Suite for harp and Orchestra
Catherine Michel, harp
Grandes Orchestre Symphonie
Michel Legrand, conductor

JS Bach arr. Catrin Finch: Goldberg Variations
Catrin Finch, harp

Poulenc, arr I. Moretti: A sa guitare, FP 79
Felicity Lott, soprano
Isabelle Moretti, harp

Mozart: Concerto for Flute and Harp
II: Andantino
Marisa Robles, harp
James Galway, flute
Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Neville Marriner, director

De Falla, arr Grandjany:
La vida breve
Xavier de Maistre, harp

Salzedo: 5 Preludes
II: Quietude
Alice Giles, harp

Rodrigo: Concierto d'Aranjuez arr by Rodrigo for harp
3. Allegro gentile
Naoko Yoshino (harp)
Orchestre d'Auvergne
Roberto Forés Veses, conductor

Britten: Suite for harp, op 83
2. Toccata
Osian Ellis, harp

Rutter: Lullabi for Pegi
Catrin Finch, harp
Symphonia Cymru
John Rutter, conductor

Catrin Finch's travels continue as she shows how the harp has reclaimed the centre stage.

Catrin Finch shares her insights, taking us on a surprising and a very personal journey.

0320210523One 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 over centuries. The harp has constantly evolved and adapted as a response to changing musical environments, from something that existed in almost every ancient culture, to a versatile and sophisticated instrument. Instantly recognisable, the concert harp's gilded beauty proudly announces its presence, yet beyond the glamour of its appearance, and a prominent position in the modern orchestra, it remains still 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.

Catrin's passionate about pushing the boundaries of what the harp can sound like, and taking it into new territory. In the third part of her series she celebrates the eclecticism of her instrument, and she looks at the work of others who are doing the same. She talks about her remarkable collaboration with kora player Seckou Keita, and we discover how through their work together, her musicianship has evolved in a completely new direction. We hear how the harp has moved successfully into jazz, and how folk musicians are finding a new musical language in a traditional setting. At the cutting edge of experimentalism, we find the harp being pushed to its limits by harpist Rhodri Davies, and we hear how Philip Glass's music is finding new audiences through Lavinia Meijer's recordings.
With music from:

Glass, arr Meijer: Etudes no 9
Lavinia Meijer, harp

Hubbard: Little Sunflower
Dorothy Ashby, harp
Orchestra conducted by Richard Evans

Metheny, Mays: “James”
Catrin Finch, harp
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,
Jody K Jenkins, percussion,
Laurence Cottle, bass guitar,
Jody Jenkins, Paul Clarvis, percussion
Karl Jenkins, conductor

Caplet: Conte fantastique
Emanuel Ceysson, harp
Quatuor Voce

Finch, Keita: Clarach
Seckou Keita, kora
Catrin Finch, harp

Maya Youssef: Bombs turn into roses
Maya Youssef qanun
Barney Morse-Brown, cello
Sebastian Flaig, percussion

Berio: Sequenza II for harp
Frédérique Cambreling, harp

Trad, arr. Calan: Yr Eneth Ga'dd ei Gwrthod
Calan

Sally Beamish: Seavaigers
I: Storm
Catriona Mackay , harp
Chris Stout, fiddle
Scottish Ensemble

Each clear and sudden drop is itself
Rhodri Davies, harp

Carlos Rojas: Quita pesares
Cimarrón
Catrin Finch, harp

Producer Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

Catrin Finch's travels take an adventurous turn as she shows the harp in new territories.

Catrin Finch shares her insights, taking us on a surprising and a very personal journey.