Now YOU can play Merceditas on Pedal or Lever Harp

“Merceditas” is the most unabashedly romantic instrumental music I have ever written and is the companion piece to “Baroque Flamenco.” Played together with “Baroque Flamenco” it creates a bridge for the audience between the classical sounds of Merceditas, and the rhythmic, percussive “Baroque Flamenco.”

Originally composed for two harps and orchestra the concerto version has just been released on CD by Evelyn Huber and the Salzburg Philharmonic in the concerto suite “Soñando en Español” (see their video below).

But it’s NEVER been available for SOLO harp … until now!

NOW YOU CAN PLAY IT on SOLO CONCERT HARP – or in a LEVER HARP adaptation. 

This new solo concert harp arrangement makes it possible for any advanced pedal harpist to play the piece as a solo – and the new Lever Harp adaptation is for intermediate to advanced lever harp players.  

Until August 2022, the only way to play Merceditas was as an advanced player with a concert harp and an orchestra – like this gorgeous version of the piece by Evelyn Huber & the Salzburg Philharmonic

Now ANY harp player can play it – and here are the first 50 to ever do it (well, one second of each of them)

Enjoy these wonderful ‘Taste Test’ videos from some of the first 50 players to ever play the solo version of this piece:

In the “First 50 Players” project we invited harpists around the world to choose a few measures and play them – releasing the music from the paper for the first time.  Some of the players in the “First 50 Players” project sent us ‘taste tests’ of longer sections of “Merceditas”, where they’re reading or rehearsing the piece and you can get a sense of how it sounds.

The inimitable Josh Layne taste tests Cadenza measures C22-C36.  Learn more about Josh Layne

Inbar Vernia taste tests Cadenza C22 to Ending measure 151. Learn more about Inbar

Lauren Arasim taste tests Measures 77 – 92. Learn more about Lauren

Dimitra Fleissner taste tests Measure 1-12 on Lever Harp. Learn more about Dmitra

Hannah taste tests measures 1 through 25 on harp & bassoon

Vien Ignacio  taste tests measures 1 – 24. Learn more about Vien.

Teddy Jones – Lever Harp – Cadenza 1- Measures 57 – 71. Learn more about Teddy

Evelyn Huber – taste tests measures 123 thru 151. Learn more about Evelyn

Jolijne – Lever Harp – Cadenza  2- Measures 87-96

Sally Walstrum play the entire Merceditas for solo pedal harp.  Learn more about Sally Walstrum.

Betty Herloski plays the entire Merceditas for solo lever harp.

About the first Solo Harp Edition

Below are three excerpts from the new First Edition Solo Harp Sheet Music – Pedal Harp version, with timing indicators for where you can hear this part in the orchestral recording with Evelyn Huber and the Salzburg Philharmonic above. Click on the music to see it larger.

Lever harpists – the new Lever Harp Version is here or sign up to watch the REPLAY of the Aug. 20 “Merceditas” (Lever Harp Version) UNDER the HOOD at the top of this page.

 

Intro & Theme (0 - :43 in the video)

This is the intro and part of the opening theme. This section is exactly the same as the concerto version.

Orchestral Transcription Section (3:40 -3:55 in the video)

An example of one of the orchestral transcription sections, where you have two different options for how to play it. Don’t be deceived that the ‘simpler-looking’ one is less advanced or professional – they’re two different interpretations, both by advanced harp players – and they both work beautifully as transcriptions that combine the orchestral writing and the harp part of the concerto. 

Cadenza (4:41 - 5:29 in the video)

This is the first page of the Cadenza – all of which is playable on lever harp as well as pedal harp.  Notice that Evelyn Huber – who’s playing in the video above, altered the cadenza slightly around measure C15. That kind of freedom on the performer’s part is often taken in cadenzas, and it’s fine to do it.

About the Piece

I originally wrote Merceditas as a double-concerto commissioned by Joel Garnier of CAMAC Harps, to premiere with my beloved friend Mercedes Gómez and the Prague Radio Orchestra at the 1999 World Harp Congress in Prague.

Mercedes and I had each recently fallen in love, and I dreamed we could each dance – in our separate kitchens thousands of miles apart – with these men we’d given our hearts to. This was the waltz I created for those dances.

So it’s a piece that grew out of love, friendship and partnership in many facets: my deep musical friendship with Mercedes, the romances we two shared with each other like schoolgirls and my growing relationship with CAMAC Harps which would eventually lead to the development of the “DHC Harp.”

As a composer, I was excited about the expanded chromatic possibilities of composing for two harps. By alternating between them – with each set in a different key – and using the Symphony as harmonic support, I could create lush harmonies and emotional chromaticism.

But how often do you get to perform a double-concerto?

After the premiere there was very little chance to perform the piece, and I loved it so much that when I created the ‘Invention & Alchemy’ project – which went on to win a Grammy Nomination – I re-invented “Merceditas” for solo harp and symphony orchestra – and combined it with different first and third movements.

Transforming a double-concerto to play on a single harp meant there were several complex pedal change sections – but to my joy, it was wonderfully playable! Suddenly the piece existed as a solo harp concerto with orchestra or chamber ensemble, and harpists started playing and recording it.

But how many harpists have a Chamber Ensemble or Orchestra to play with??

So when harpists Sally Walstrum and Verena Jochum suggested creating a solo version, I said let’s adapt it together, as a team. We heard rumors that Eleanor Turner had played it as a solo, and she sent us her notes. Sally and Verena, along with Jason McKinney – who consolidated the changes into the manuscript – took on the task of adapting all the purely orchestral sections for solo harp. Then Heleen Vandeputte joined as our First Reader. We had a team!

Our little team committed to creating a solo adaptation of the piece so that pedal-harp players all over the world could play the piece whether or not they have an ensemble or orchestra to play with. That meant that all the sections originally for orchestra had to be transcribed and reinvented for solo harp. 

This piece is the first publication of my 7-year Legacy Project a project to release all my concert works into the hands and voices of others. And thanks to the Legacy Project team, the piece can now be played in three dimensions: as an orchestral concerto, with chamber ensemble – or on solo harp. This allows access to this music to every pedal harpist in the world – and takes us one step further on a journey to bring the harp out from the back of the orchestra to the front.

And yes, lever-harp players – I’m working on an adaptation for lever harp too.

 

 

With Mercedes in 2017

The Team

The “Merceditas” transcription and publication is part of my 7-Year Legacy Project.

The Creative Team of harpists for the “Merceditas” project was:

Composer

Deborah Henson-Conant

Arrangement Adaptors:

Eleanor Turner
Verena Jochum
Sally Walstrum

Make-it-Happen Team:

Jason T. McKinney – Music Copyist
Heleen Vandeputte – Very First Reader
Mary Robinson – Copy Editing
Tammy Halun – Meeting Coordinator

Special Thanks for this Edition

In Addition to the Legacy Project Team for Merceditas

OUR FIRST READERS

Special Thanks to these harpists who read our first draft and suggested the changes – we weren’t able to add all the wonderful suggestions but what we did made all the difference!

Shelley Fairplay
Robyn Gordon-Cartier
Josh Layne
Heleen Vandeputte
Pumehana Davis Wadsworth
Rebecca Fay Squire
Vera Stern

FACEBOOK FRIENDS

Thank you for your help – on a moment’s notice – weighing in on the details of harp manuscript conventions!

ANYONE WE’VE FORGOTTEN!

To anyone we’ve forgotten – please let us know and we’ll add you to the Second Edition!

Just go to the contacts page at HipHarp.com to send a message.

For future changes and errata – check this page for updates – and make sure to REFRESH your screen to see any updates.

Errata

These are the errors and mistakes that have been found in the manuscript, and that we already know about.  Thank you to everyone who’s sent these to us! 
If you find others, please use the Ask-a-Question form to send them to us. Thank you!

PEDAL HARP VERSION - MERCEDITAS - ERRATA

Below are the errors we’ve discovered in this manuscript and any fixes. We plan to update these in the subsequent editions.

  • 8/15/22 – Misspelling of Josh Layne’s name (corrected & new edition uploaded)
LEVER HARP VERSION - MERCEDITAS - ERRATA

Below are the errors we’ve discovered in this manuscript and any fixes. We plan to update these in the subsequent editions.

To be corrected in the next edition (tentatively late Aug. 2022):

  • 8/15/22 – Pagination – There are 2 page 6’s so the page numbering is off (but the page turns are still correct and the document has the correct number of pages – i.e. 12). Current Fix: Please just ignore or manually change the page numbers for now. 

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