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(If you would like to know more about King’s Chapel, another Bettina’s Blog reviews King’s Chapel and it is also included in Bettina’s Menu of Events.)
On Tuesday, June 15th at 12:15pm there was a wonderful harp concert in King’s Chapel. The harpist was Franziska Huhn
Her concert included the Ciaccona from J. S. Bach’s Partita in D minor for solo violin (BWV 1004). It was amazing to hear this piece played on the harp. The ciaccona is considered a pinnacle of the solo violin repertoire and has been transcribed for other instruments – the piano, the full orchestra, the guitar, organ and others. Franziska played the Ciaccona brilliantly and set in the background of King’s Chapel the incredible feelings this piece generates came through the harp playing and made the afternoon.
Also included in this concert was Bach’s French Suite no. 5, BWV 816. Written by J. S. Bach for the clavier, Ms. Huhn transcribed these pieces for the harp. I thought I would share with you the musicians thoughts about the French Suite and her transcription.
A lot of movements have melodies based on arpeggios and some on scales, allowing for a sonority that should work well on the harp. I have had the French Suite on my mind since I first read through it in 2000. I thought then it would work beautifully on the harp and finally I decided to sit down and do the transcription.
All of the movements can be played in the original key and all voicings can be left intact. The only movement which proved tricky was the gigue. It has fast moving left hand lines which can easily lose their clarity on the lower register of the harp. That area tends to build up a lot of vibrations and clarity of lines can easily be lost. In Bach, both lines – the melody as well as the bass line – are equally important, so it is critical that the lines are clear. In later periods the melody rules and the left hand is “serving” the right hand, but in Bach they are equal partners. In the gigue, it took several small discrete register changes of the left hand to make sure it could be heard clearly.
Overall, the character of the Suite is very intimate and personal. It is not a large showy piece, which is one reason I love to play it and thoroughly enjoyed transcribing it for the harp. In this concert, it was a great contrast to the much more extroverted style of the Chaconne.
Ms. Huhn is a rising young musician who has an international resumé of concerts performed throughout the United States as well as Poland, Turkey, Georgia, Luthuania, Norway, Russia, Syria, Germany, Pakistan and more with several concerts performed for German Presidents – both Johannes Rau and Horst Koehler. Ms. Huhn performs as a substitute harpist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, plays regularly with several chamber groups and studied with both Lucille Lawrence and Ann Hobson Pilot, among others. She serves as harp faculty at the New England Conservatory and Longy School of Music, received the Artists’s Diploma from the Conservatory in 2005 and has several harp albums available for purchase. She is the Assistant Director of the Harp Seminar at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute and the above is only a partial list of Ms. Huhn’s musical accomplishments. We know you will hear a lot about Ms. Huhn in the future and hope you take the opportunity to hear her play when she appears in your area of the world or when you are travelling to where Ms. Huhn is performing.
If you would like to follow Ms. Huhn’s career you will find her on the web at www.FranziskaHuhn.de.
She is also an important part of the Bettina Network, inc. and has been for over a decade.
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