This episode of Together SpARTanburg is all about harp! Principal Harpist Emily Waggoner and I discuss the harp's history, its place in the orchestra, and perform from our homes. Music featured includes a duet version of Jupiter from Gustav Holst's The Planets based on arrangement for two harps by Janet Witman, as well as the harp variation from The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britten, and the Waltz of the Flowers cadenza from Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.
Thank you to the Spartanburg Philharmonic for including harps in this wonderful online series!
Naxos released the Respighi: Roman Trilogy recording by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra today! In May and June of 2018 during my brief time as acting principal harpist with the BPO, the orchestra recorded Respighi's trilogy of tone-poems celebrating Rome. My sweet friend Catherine Case flew to Buffalo to play second harp for the concerts and the recording sessions. Catherine and I met in graduate school, and I've always been in awe of her amazing harp skills. Not surprisingly she is also supremely gifted at playing in a section, which is an art we harpists don't get to practice very often. Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome) tracks 5-8 and Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome) tracks 9-12 includes Catherine and I playing both my new and my old Salzedo model harps! Respighi did not include harp in Feste Roman (Roman Festivals). I suppose he didn't think the harp was raucous enough for the revelry at festivals, and perhaps he decided between the piano, organ, mandolin, strings, and three or more of every type of wind and brass instrument there just wasn't room for harp?
It is interesting how life moves in circles. My husband, conductor Stefan Sanders, and I spent most of our honeymoon in Rome. We rented a Vespa and spent a week scooting around looking at the very trees, roads, and fountains Respighi so eloquently captures. We even joked about hearing his music in our heads as we saw the sights, and sang the themes together while we ate gelato. When I first met Stefan he was a member of the BPO trombone section, and who would have thought that all these years, one honeymoon, and a few jobs later I would get to record Respighi with the same orchestra? I'm so grateful to Music Director JoAnn Falletta for inviting me to play with the BPO and be a part of this project.
The recording is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify or your favorite music streaming service.
During my brief but action packed tenure as the acting principal harpist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018, the orchestra recorded a brand new trumpet concerto which is included in the latest recording released today from the Beau Fleuve label. Jaakko Kuusisto's Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra was composed for BPO principal trumpet (and my dear friend) Alex Jokipii. Alex spent a year studying at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki where he became acquainted with fellow student Jaakko Kuusisto. In 2015 the pair reconnected when Kuusisto came to the BPO for the American premiere of his violin concerto, and the idea for the trumpet concerto was born. I had the pleasure of meeting Kuusisto and recording the trumpet concerto live with Alex and the BPO in May of 2018.
I was not performing with the BPO when the other two concertos were recorded, but I'm a big fan of both of the other soloists featured: Feng Hew and Anna Mattix. Composer Rob Deemer and I were in school at UT Austin together, and he is now the director of the Institute for Composer Diversity at SUNY Fredonia which is doing amazing work promoting music created by composers from historically underrepresented groups. I also enjoyed working with composer Caroline Mallonee during my time in Buffalo on one of her chamber music pieces, Curtains of Light, which coincidentally cellist Feng Hew and I premiered along with our fellow musicians from the Buffalo Chamber Players in 2017.
The recording is available from the Kleinhans Music Hall box office or the BPO online store.
Way back in May of 2017 I had the pleasure of playing second harp for this recording session with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and principal harpist Suzanne Thomas. I am so honored to be a part of performing some of the most incredible music ever written, and I can hardly believe that I'm on a Naxos recording! Being on stage at Kleinhans Music Hall when the BPO plays Wagner is something I will never forget, and I'm so grateful to Suzanne Thomas and Music Director JoAnn Falletta for inviting me to be a part of this project. Yours truly can be heard on track 1 Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla from Das Rheingold, track 3 Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music from Die Walküre, track 6 Siegfried's Death and Funeral Music from Götterdämerung, and track 7 Brunnhilde's Immolation Scene from Götterdämerung.
The recording is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, or your favorite music streaming service.
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