Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Harps in the South East

Carmen Alcántara
& David Knotts

The Artemisia Duo's scheduled Trinity Laban Chapel Concert recital was replaced, without prior notice or any explanation, by a harp recital with piano accompaniment, the main works a Dittersdorf Harp Concerto and Ravel's Introduction & Allegro.

Unpromising in prospect, but in the event a wholly enjoyable experience for the substantial audience.

Getting it off "on the right foot", pianist David Knotts provided a discreet accompaniment (with little pedal !) which blended ideally with the delicate harp and left no regret for the missing orchestra.

Carmen Alcántara, Spanish harpist completing her Masters with Gabriella dall'Orio at TCM, had two solos, the more spectacular a Fantasie on a Haydn tune by Grandjany. No other instrument is as enjoyable to watch being played as the harp, which, I guess, is why so many young women take it up...

Finally, Ravel's Introduction & Allegro without the chamber ensemble! Never before heard this way, it proved entirely viable and in this account with David Knotts imperturbably supplying all the instruments from Ravel's own two-piano version, truly satisfying ! Do listen to them playing it *.

Peter Grahame Woolf
* click and wait patiently for Ravel to begin ! PGW


Debussy & Saint-Saëns
Concert for harp, flute and strings

Debussy, Danses sacrée et profane;
Sonata in F major for flute, viola and harp
Fantaisie in A major, for violin and harp, Op.124

Alicia Griffiths Harp & friends

Charlton House Old Library [R of photo]
23 March 2012

On a perfect Spring morning, this was a pleasant lunchhour of French music, mostly rather soothing, the most challenging piece being the late Debussy Trio Sonata (1915) the first ever for that combination, its last movement introducing daring (for the time) elements of dissonance, tempo and rhythm.

The Saint-Saens Fantasie might have escaped from the Atemesia Duo concert which never happened - see above?

I found that duo piece mostly too gentle and a tad long for my taste; nothing corresponding with the excitement of Grandjany's Fantasie played by Carmen Alcántara a few days ago. Alicia is another advanced pupil from the Harp Department of TCM, which Gabriella dall'Orio ensures maintains a good concert presence locally.