Speaking about Jesus Christ

Past events

19 May
Guidhall School Harp Recital

We were delighted to welcome the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s harpists and friends to play at St Benet’s on Wednesday 19 May, 2010 for the first time.  The theme of the evening was “Wales And Beyond: An Evening of Harp Music from around the World”.

The evening’s entertainment was introduced in Welsh and English by Swansea’s post-graduate student and recent prize-winner in the Second Wales International Harp Competition 2010, Hannah Stone.  Hannah started with our well-known countryman John Parry’s familiar and much-loved Sonata No. 4 in F Allegro con spirito – Minuet followed by a completely contrasting and wonderfully well-played piece, Scintillation, by the French-American Carlos Salzedo.


Award-winning Singaporean Fontane Liang, previously the Principal harpist at the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, and currently a post-graduate student, followed with a wonderful rendition of the Sonata in G by CPE Bach and Valse Romantique by Claude Debussy.

Actress Eirlys Bellin presented, with charm and just enough explanation for non-Welsh speakers, several love poems in Welsh, including “Fel Jack Nicholson” by Iwan Llwyd and a section from “Y Serch Lledrad” by the Fourteenth Century poet Dafydd ap Gwilym. Between readings the Harrow Ladies’ Group, led by talented soloist Glenys Roberts,contributed sweet versions of favourite folk songs, including Ar Lan Y Mor and A’r Hyd Y Nos.

Representatives of the Poetry Society, who had helped to organise the evening, joined other members of the audience afterwards for a glass of wine or beer, the latter generously provided by Brains the brewers. And at 10.15 pm, the remaining dozen or so people chatting in church launched into an impromptu rendition of Calon Lan, in harmony of course. Dwynwen would have been delighted.


Next, Marged Hall from Cowbridge, South Wales, a second year harp student at the Guildhall School, also introduced herself in Welsh and English.  Marged demonstrated her mastery of the harp by expertly playing Three Improvisations by William Mathias and Harpicide at Midnight by Pearl Chertok.
Anneke Hodnett, a Dutch/Irish post-graduate student, provided the audience with a fascinating introduction to the workings of the harp. She then played a solo, Spanish Dance No.1 by Manuel de Falla, brilliantly before joining her friends and colleagues Matthew Featherstone, flute, and Drew Balch, viola, to form theTrio Anima.  Demonstrating the uniqueness and collaborative nature of the harp, the trio performed Chamber Music by Paul Ben Haim.

Murdo Macrae, introduced himself in Gaelic and English and played Absidioles by Bernard Andres and two Scottish traditional melodies which he arranged himself: Och nan Och, tha mi cho mhulad (I am sorrowful) and Fleasgaich Og agus Caileagan (Young lads and lasses), which were delightful.  As a very apt finale piece, Hannah Stone played theSanta Fe Suite by William Mathias.



The evening’s performance was the perfect introduction to the world of the harp music. In Wales we traditionally associate harp music with the many familiar Welsh arrangements with which we’ve grow up, however, in particular this evening, the use of the modern beat glissando in Carlos Salzedo’s Scintillation and the knocking on the soundboard in the Mathias Santa Fe Suite, were interesting and welcome new techniques for many of the audience. This was the first of what we hope will be a recurring collaboration with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and we were encouraged by a healthy audience of about 50 enthusiasts.  We look forward to many more concerts in future.

On behalf of the congregation of St Benet’s, Susan Owen Williams gave thanks to the talented performers and the Head of Harp at the Guildhall School, Imogen Barford, who organised the event in conjunction with Heather Neill and Lloyd Lloyd at St Benet’s. All were invited to a finger buffet and drinks afterwards, provided by members of the congregation with beer once again generously donated by Brains Brewery.
For information about the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s Harp Department look at the website www.gsmd.ac.uk