(We first shared this post on April 21, 2016)
Baroque Flamenco is one of my most famous and fiery pieces. But it wasn’t always.
The first time I heard the melody, it was in a Minuet by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (pictured below, quite fetchingly, I think).
I found it in one of my first harp books (“Medieval to Modern, Vol. 1″ by Samuel Milligan) under the title “Minuet in A Minor.”
I fell in love with the melody and started improvising on it, first in a Baroque style, and then over time, I started adding rhythm to the variations.
Little by little the piece became a conversation of styles: the melody was Baroque, but the variations took on a Latin rhythmic character (a lot like the rhythm of Bernstein’s “America.”)
Then, one day, packing up my gear in a rock club in Berlin, and hearing Ottmar Liebert’s “Nuevo Flamenco” on the house sound system, I had a revelation: “Wait a minute!” I yelled at myself over the music, “The harp … the HARP … is just a big GUITAR!”
By which I meant: there’s a whole other instrument here, not just the strings, but the sound box as well.
I started experimenting, and created a cadenza for the piece that included my best imitation of a flamenco troupe, from strums and slaps to foot stomps – all created on the strings and soundboard of the harp.
Thus was born, “Baroque Flamenco,” which morphed from a sweet, haunting minuet into a fiery tour-de-force that was the dramatic finale of my PBS music special “Invention and Alchemy”, and later became the 3rd movement of my concerto “Soñando en Español.”
Do YOU play the HARP?
Start playing "Baroque Flamenco" today!
The sheet music includes 3 versions for Lever & Pedal Harp:
for Fledgling (Adv. Beginners), Intermediate & Advanced.
Fledgling & Intermediate versions are playable on Lever Harp. Advanced version is for Pedal Harp (though some clever Lever Harp players have adapted the advanced version for lever harp - especially those who've taken my "Baroque Flamenco Beyond the Page" class!)