Four Girls Four Harps

Any harp lover will tell you that the only thing better than listening to one harp, is listening to more than one harp. On Saturday, May 9 2015, Honiton Festival provided a lucky audience at The Beehive with the wonderful opportunity of hearing four of them!

Four Girls, Four Harps is the country’s leading harp quartet. Comprising of the exceptional talents of Eleanor Turner, Keziah Thomas, Elizabeth Scorrah and Devon-born Harriet Adie.

Their programme consisted of a mix of the well known – Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Tarrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra – and works that they have either commissioned, written or arranged themselves. The balance could not have been better.

Highlights for me were Longstaff’s Saraswati, commissioned in 2002 and using Indian raga-style rhythms in an exciting evocation of the four armed Hindu Goddess.

Also Henriette Renie’s masterpiece Legende, which has only recently been arranged by Harriet. Originally written as a solo piece for harp, it tells the dark tale of a knight who is accosted by Elves and seduced by the Elf Queen. It is quite terrifying in its technical complexity, but as a chamber piece, the different themes and moods were somehow much more clearly defined. This piece is to become the starting point for a new commission, from four different composers, to celebrate this year’s 15th anniversary of the quartet.

I for one am looking forward to hearing the next stage and hope they will be back in Devon very soon.

Review by Emma Graham