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Harpist Maxine Eilander

Two recordings of music by Handel and Lawes on the ATMA label, featuring American early harpist Maxine Eilander.

handels harp cover

Photo: Bernard Gordillo (adapted)

"Handel's Harp" on the ATMA Classique label with Maxine Eilander, harp, Cyndia Sieden, soprano, and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra (Stephen Stubbs, dir.).

The harp is an ancient musical instrument and symbol of power. George Frideric Handel incorporated it for special effect in the oratorios Esther and Alexander’s Feast, as well as the opera Giulio Cesare. He also composed a concerto for the harp and included it among his two publications of concertos for organ. The harp in Handel’s day was heard both as part of an ensemble and alone, giving an unusually sensual quality to the music.

George Frideric Handel

Maxine Eilander’s new ATMA label recording, entitled “Handel’s Harp,” brings together the music that Handel composed for the instrument (with some extras). Joined by soprano Cyndia Sieden and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra (under the direction of Stephen Stubbs), the performance has a wonderful flow. I’ve heard these pieces many times in the past both on recording and in live performance, but never this dynamic and engaging. Eilander’s playing is particularly remarkable for its poetic expression.

William Lawes

The 2008 release of William Lawes’ harp consorts features not only Maxine Eilander, but theorbist Stephen Stubbs, violinist David Greenberg, and the viola da gamba duo, Les Voix Humaines. I’ve looked at this recording in a previous podcast and gladly return to it because there’s something truly special about the ensemble’s performance. Let’s just say that they’ve got a terrific groove going.

Here’s video produced by the ATMA label which includes more background information and music to “Handel’s Harp”:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Etzp2FuB1tE

Music Heard On This Episode

G. F. Handel: "Praise the Lord with cheerful noise" from Esther
Maxine Eilander, harp, Cyndia Sieden, soprano, and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra/Stephen Stubbs — Handel’s Harp (ATMA, 2009)
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G. F. Handel: "Praise the Lord with cheerful noise" from Esther
Maxine Eilander, harp, Cyndia Sieden, soprano, and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra/Stephen Stubbs — Handel’s Harp (ATMA, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
G. F. Handel: Symphony from Esther
Maxine Eilander, harp, Cyndia Sieden, soprano, and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra/Stephen Stubbs — Handel’s Harp (ATMA, 2009)
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album cover
G. F. Handel: Allegro moderato from Concerto for Harp in B-flat major
Maxine Eilander, harp, Cyndia Sieden, soprano, and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra/Stephen Stubbs — Handel’s Harp (ATMA, 2009)
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album cover
William Lawes: Harp Consort no. 11 in D minor
Les Voix Humaines, Stephen Stubbs, theorbo, Maxine Eilander, harp, and David Greenberg, violin — The Harp Consorts (ATMA, 2008)
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William Lawes: Harp Consort no. 5 in D major
Les Voix Humaines, Stephen Stubbs, theorbo, Maxine Eilander, harp, and David Greenberg, violin — The Harp Consorts (ATMA, 2008)
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album cover
Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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  • Sibolt van Ketel

    This is truly amazing!!!!!! The best ever!

  • Mr. K. McNaughton

    Surely Handel wrote for the high headed triple harp found in the UK, the so called Welsh harp, rather than the low headed Italianate triple harp? He was certainly familiar with Welsh harpers in London. Sir John Hawkins noted that after Powell senior went to Jamaica with his patron, the Duke of Portland, Handel helped Powell jr by writing music for him. In 1741 a Handel harp conmcerto was played by the Welsh harper, whom Handel is said to have admired John Parry who was also composer for triple harp.
    If I am wrong, please correct me, as I have no wish to offend. Please note that i play and enjoy both types of triple harp.

  • Mr. K. McNaughton

    Surely Handel wrote for the high headed triple harp found in the UK, the so called Welsh harp, rather than the low headed Italianate triple harp? He was certainly familiar with Welsh harpers in London. Sir John Hawkins noted that after Powell senior went to Jamaica with his patron, the Duke of Portland, Handel helped Powell jr by writing music for him. In 1741 a Handel harp conmcerto was played by the Welsh harper, whom Handel is said to have admired John Parry who was also composer for triple harp.
    If I am wrong, please correct me, as I have no wish to offend. Please note that i play and enjoy both types of triple harp.

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