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I’m releasing Classical HarpSolos August, 2010 in honor and celebration of my Mother's 100th birthday. It is dedicated to her.
The first M.L. Tournier Noel is the piece Mother played when, as a child, I recited the Christmas story according to Luke. The mystical harp composition by Alan Hovhaness honors our Armenian heritage. The J.S Bach Prelude is a familiar favorite; prayerful in its simplicity. The full W.A. Mozart Concerto and those by G. Pescetti and Sophia Dussek, were part of my Senior recital at Northwestern University's Music School. Selections from B. Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, are great year around. I played the full Ceremony at Christmas from age 13.
My Mother's harp music filled our home and hearts with elegance and grace. Childhood friends still recall hearing her music and how beautifully enthralling it was. Her daily blessing was J.S. Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. She played Bach, Handel, the Romantic French composers and American composers. Dinner guests enjoyed sing-along folk tunes with harp and my Dad’s accordion.
For professional programs, Mother often spoke as she played: poetry, or brief stories - The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, I See America by Carl Sandburg and my Dad's favorite, Psalm 8. Her talented and dear friend, Betty Seabury Mitchell, also gave readings to my Mother’s harp music: Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindburgh, Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid and The Little Fir Tree, stories by Paul Gallico and others. Mother's programs, solo and with Betty, for churches, women's clubs and civic organizations were in great demand in Chicago's North Shore for decades. Sometimes, I played in her programs and often we played 2 harps at home. My first major repertoire piece, my parents’ favorite, was A. Hasselmans’s La Source. Dad asked Mother to learn it when he heard the piece on WFMT, Chicago’s premier Classical radio station, which his business sponsored for many years. Mother and I surprised my Dad with two harps playing La Source as he awakened the morning of his 50 th birthday. Nights I fell to sleep with the sound of harp music.
The portrait within this CD by Yousef Karsh was Karsh’s gift to me. Soon after Dennis and I were married and living in New York City, we met Karsh at a photography gallery opening and invited him for dinner. When he visited us, I played the harp for him and he asked if I would let him photograph me at his NYC studio. It was a stunning experience and gift. I was pregnant with our first son at the time of this photograph.
The Classical harp is a challenging instrument to study and perform, requiring years of training in technique. Preparing and recording this Classical harp CD was a tremendous physical and emotional experience. My Mother's 100th birthday, a momentous, amazing event, gave it wings.
I’ve recorded and released 5 piano CDs. As with the harp, my piano choices are often reflective and lyrical with intricate harmonies. The piano CDs play on National Public Radio around our country and sell widely on the internet and in independent book stores. All proceeds go directly to not-for-profit organizations. The CDs have raised nearly $100,000. Classical Harp Solos is in the mail to 150 National Public Radio and Classical radio stations. Perhaps one is within your listening range !
I dearly hope you enjoy this music as we celebrate Mother’s extraordinary and
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