Butterflies, by Gabriel Verdalle

Here’s another little gem that I had never heard of before, also available free on IMSLP.

Gabriel Verdalle (1847-1918)

Verdalle was harpist with the Paris Opera in his time, and he was actually quite a prolific composer for the harp, even though his works are not so well known. Butterflies has been a particularly delightful discovery for me. It’s a great alternative to either of the La Source pieces that are so commonly given to students to introduce them to the idea of a right-hand thumb melody over a cascade of notes. It is deceptive in its simplicity, though, because it requires a lot of control to bring out the melody and the phrasing. It’s best for intermediate or even upper-intermediate players.

I have a new microphone set-up now, so the recording quality should be much cleaner than last time. (I’m still tweaking the mic placement and line-levels, though, so bear with me.)

There weren’t any pedal markings in the score that I downloaded, so I’m also offering a version with them written in. Since Verdalle was a harpist himself, his writing is very clear for the instrument and the only other markings I felt the need for were reminders about which left-hand fingering I wanted to use. Enjoy!

[PDF – low resolution] Butterflies (markings) – Gabrielle Verdalle

[PDF – high resolution] Butterflies (markings) – Gabrielle Verdalle

An Evening at Home, by Alfred Holy

Always on the search for new pieces to add to my arsenal of student repertoire (because I get bored quickly listening to the same music again and again), I ran into this fun little suite the other day on IMSLP.

An Evening at Home: Four Easy Pieces for the Harp
Alfred Holy, Op. 24

I first discovered Alfred Holy by way of his “Twenty-Four Easy Studies for Harp”, which I have used very successfully as sight-reading assignments for my students. He was apparently a Czech musician who lived from 1866 to 1948.

This is a set of four little images he wrote for one of his students. While it is quite sweet and simple, it’s not entirely a beginner piece. I’d grade it intermediate-beginner, with the additional remark that it’s for the pedal harp. Watch out for cross fingerings, harmonics, enharmonics, voicing, and a few surprise tempo and rhythm changes. The names of the movements may evoke a child’s storybook, but these are rather sophisticated little musical sketches.

I found that a few additional markings in the score were helpful, so I’m including them here. Enjoy!

[PDF – low resolution] An Evening at Home (markings) – Alfred Holy

[PDF – high resolution] An Evening at Home (markings) – Alfred Holy