Give Now

Harmonia Early Music

Harpist Maxine Eilander

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

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”:


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.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Harmonia Early Music:

More Subscription Options

Follow Us

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Harmonia Early Music

Search Harmonia Early Music