Elinor Bennett Harpist review


St. Cadoc’s Church, Caerleon Saturday 8th October

A delightful concert was given last night by one of Wale’s most highly esteemed performers of the harp Elinor Bennett. Miss Bennett’s choice of pieces lead us through the history of the harp from the 18th century’s classical era to the introduction of the pedal harp early 19th century. Then moving on through the Romantic era she brought us to an outstanding finale by a modern day composer William Mathias.

Many demonstrations of her outstanding skills and abilities were delivered throughout her performance. She opened her repertoire with a Sophia Corri Dussek (1760-1812) sonata in C minor, three movements, very different in character from light to sombre and moving.

Moving on to Rossler-Rosetti (1746-1792) Sonata No. 2 in Eb major Miss Bennett yet again demonstrated her great skills with the use of dynamics echoing the theme to enhance the feeling of the movements.

Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857) Variation on a theme of Mozart. Skilled use of harmonics were brought to use throughout the melody.

Louise Spohr (1794-1856) Miss Bennett’s introduction of the main theme opened with magnificent arpeggios and flourishes with the melody flowing through the bas.

John Thomas (1826-1913) John Thomas was famous throughout Wales for his connections to Lady Llanover, and his arrangements of Traditional welsh songs. Up until this period the Welsh Triple harp was the traditional instrument of Wales. By now the pedal harp was making its way into Wales and John Thomas had to move with the times.

A set of three Welsh melodies. Serch Hudol, Dafydd y Gareg Gwen and Clychau Aberdyfi Miss Bennett demonstrated an expressive and harmonious introduction to Dafydd y Garig Gwen, delighting her audience with a slow and expressive start giving way to embellished arpeggios whilst keeping the melody going in the bas and closing with exquisite harmonics.

Gabriel Faure (1845-1924) Impromptu for harp Op 86. Rich opening chords and glissandos expressed this subtle melodic Impromptu.

Moving through the Romantic era, Miss Bennett brought us into the 20th century with Marcel Tournier (1845-1951) and Present day John Metcalf b.(1946). Tournier’s Etude de Concert: Au Matin highlighted many different techniques and skills from rippling arpeggios and soft harmonies, whilst John Metcalf’s Vanog The Two Sisters was a description of Serenity.

Miss Bennett also delighted her audience by her accompaniment to the popular welsh love song “Ar lan y mor.”

The Finale by William Mathias a flamboyant Spanish composer with his Santa Fe Suit brought the concert to a close. Subtly melodic very rhythmical in texture, inspired by ritualistic dance. This piece depicted changing mood and atmosphere creating expressions of Mexican heat and colour. An exciting climax to end a most prolific performance by one of Wales most well revered Harpists, Elinor Bennett.

Reviewer: Lorraine Lutman


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