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(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.Wait a minute! I yelled at myself over the music, The harp ... the HARP ... is just a big GUITAR! Click To Tweet There's a whole other instrument here, not just the strings, but the sound box as well! Click To Tweet
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.”
HARPISTS: Do YOU play Baroque Flamenco?
... then I'd love to hear your story and see a video of how you play it. Use this form to share your story and a video from YouTube and I'll feature it in a blogpost like the ones you can link to below.
Do you WANT to play Baroque Flamenco?
The solo harp sheet music includes 3 levels: advanced beginner, intermediate & professional. Other versions include harp ensemble, piano/harp duo (piano reduction), concerto and upcoming chamber ensemble versions.
My online class "Baroque Flamenco Beyond the Page" takes you through the piece step by step at all 3 levels, with videos of all the sections and special effects, breakdowns (to show you how the piece is put together) and a set of warmups to help you develop the rhythms.
Oh wow! That was truly amazing what you can do with a harp! We felt so lucky to be able to see you in person with the Tacoma Symphony. We felt fortunate to have been able to receive the middle seats in the front row for an amazing and close-up experience. We hope the Seattle Symphony will be your next venue here in the Seattle area.