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 Post subject: Ceremony of Carols--the two harp version!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:17 pm 

Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 6:14 pm
Posts: 15
Here's the scenario: I have a harp student I started when she was 5, now graduating from HS. Last spring I gave her a carefully marked copy of Ceremony of Carols. "Look at this over the summer, you will probably be playing this some time soon." Typical teen--how far do you think this went? Then, I contacted the HS Choir director in the Fall, "I think this is the year you can do "selections" from Ceremony with this harpist.
So, he wants to do the entire piece, and my student is WAY over committed to swim team, Chinese lessons, honor band, pit orchestra, college visits, etc, etc. Three weeks out and she is NOT ready!
I'm thinking of a way to save her bacon and secure a satisfying performance for the choir. I think I will supplement her part by joining in occasionally, taking over some of the very big chords, or the places where the pedaling is just not reliable. My goal is to make it seem like this is meant to be a duet.
I can see several instances where this might be just the ticket: a harpist's first performance of the work; to balance a large women's choir; a teacher-student feature; small hands.

Here's what I'm thinking so far:
Wolcum --she starts, I join at the F and FF parts, drop out at the p and ppp. Play the last three lines together. She can play this, but is a bit slow.
There is no Rose. I will definitely join at the bottom of the first page and play the nasty part at the top of the second page and catch the very big chords, maybe divide them between us.
That Yonge Child--If the soloist is shaky, I'll play all the LH parts and let her cover the RH.
Balulalow--She can play alone until the choir enters. I will play the LH part in the middle where the chords are so big.
As Dew in Aprille--perhaps starting together and let her play the bisbigliando part, then join at the gliss and together to the end.
This Little Babe--not sure. She plays it pretty cleanly, but I'm worried about the tempo. Perhaps I could join at the end for the chords after the key change.
Interlude--we didn't start this early enough! I will probably play the octaves at the point where the three lines start, and we can play the rolled chords in the 9/8 together. I think we'll divide up the part with the glissandos...that could be nice.
Freezing Winter--maybe just play it together. She is doing pretty well, but has trouble counting all the way to 5! The trills sound nice doubled.
Spring Carol--she plays this OK.
Deo Gracias--fun to play two harps together. Or just on the loud parts.
I would really appreciate suggestions.
Do you think someone (hint, hint) would consider publishing a two-harp edition?


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 Post subject: Re: Ceremony of Carols--the two harp version!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:18 pm 

Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 6:14 pm
Posts: 15
Here's how it came out:
She actually learned most of it very well. I was proud of her! I still played along in a few places because:

1) there was not enough rehearsal time with the choir--a combination of scheduling and harp moving.
2) the choir was enormous--more than 60.
3) she was nervous--performing in front of classmates.
4) the site was hot and crowded--several singers toppled over during the concert.
5) the director got excited and went very fast on several movements.

I mostly played on the loudest parts. She did Yonge Child and Spring Carol alone. I played on the Interlude just where the part is on three staffs. Deo Gracias was so fast I couldn't keep up myself.

I still think a two harp version might be useful. Perhaps, in Salt Lake City next July, we could get a group of teachers who have performed it (many times) and talk about dividing it up.


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