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Canberra Today 15°/18° | Wednesday, November 29, 2023 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Suddenly solo, Granger saves the day

Harpist Emily Granger… generously offered a solo performance. Photo: Dalice Trost

Music / Emily Granger. At Greenaway Studio, November 6. Reviewed by GRAHAM McDONALD.

THE best laid plans, etcetera… what was supposed to be the launch of a new recording by the flute and harp duo of Sally Walker and Emily Granger was thrown into disarray when flautist Walker had car trouble in a mobile phone dead spot between Orange and Canberra and could not get here in time.

Harpist Granger generously offered a solo performance and the audience was treated to four varied works on her very new harp interspersed with questions and discussion about modern pedal harps and what can be done with them. She started with her own transcription of Eric Sayie’s “Gymnopedie No 1”, written for piano, but entirely suited, as it turns out, for the harp.

She followed this with “The Nightingale” by American composer Deborah Henson-Conant. This sounds like an Irish air to begin with with an A and B part but then heads off into variations, which takes it to different places before coming back to the theme to finish.

This was contrasted by all three movements of the “Handel Concerto for Harp” in B flat major, which seems to be played as a solo work as much as with a baroque ensemble. The first movement was played with sparking precision with the slower second movement offering a darker contrast on the lower registers before a rousing final section.

Granger finished the performance with a work by the concert’s host Sally Greenaway. This was written for harpist Liena Lacey and inspired by the tango music of Astor Piazzolla. Full of South American rhythms this was a most satisfying way to finish an unexpected, yet ultimately most enjoyable performance from a very fine musician.

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