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Harmonia Early Music

The Harps in the Trees

This week, we explore the documentary film, "The Harps in the Trees," which tells the story of a musical pilgrimage to Scotland.

Harps

A still image from Cheryl Ann Fulton’s documentary that is the subject of this week’s program.

Our guest on Harmonia this hour is harpist Cheryl Ann Fulton, one of the foremost practitioners of Historical Harp, who joins me for a program featuring the soundtrack to her short documentary film The Harps in the Trees, which tells the story of a musical pilgrimage to Scotland by her ensemble Angelorum. There they meet the luthier who made their harps, and play music together in the very forest where the wood for their harps was gathered. We’ll talk about the making of the film, Cheryl’s unsung role in the founding of Indiana’s Early Music Institute, our mutual mentor and teacher Tom Binkley, and . . . Harmonia’s theme music! Our featured release, which we’ll hear throughout the program, is the soundtrack from The Harps in the Trees.


“En Avril au tens pascour,” a medieval French piece from the time of the trouveres and troubadours, from a CD by Ensemble Alcatraz called Danse Royale.


The Harps in the Trees

My guest on Harmonia this hour is harpist Cheryl Ann Fulton, who joins us to tell the story of the musical pilgrimage to Scotland taken by her harp ensemble Angelorum, all documented in a beautiful short film called The Harps in the Trees. In Scotland, they meet the luthier who made their harps, and venture into the misty Scottish forest to play music together for the trees that contributed the wood for their harps.

Harpist Cheryl Ann Fulton played an original composition entitled “Adam’s Friend,” from her CD The Once and Future Harp. That piece is also featured in Cheryl Ann Fulton’s film The Harp in the Trees, which documents the trip taken by Cheryl and her harp ensemble Angelorum to Scotland, where they played their harps in the forest where the wood for their instruments was sourced.

“The Chant for the Trees,” from the film The Harps in the Trees, performed by Cheryl Ann Fulton and her harp ensemble Angelorum. Cheryl is my guest this hour on Harmonia.

“Quia Ergo Femina,” a piece by 12th century abbess, writer, and composer Hildegard von Bingen, played by Angelorum, from the documentary The Harp in the Trees. My guest this hour is Cheryl Ann Fulton, harpist and director of Angelorum. One of the distinctive elements of medieval music is the fact that the melodies are not based on our “major” or “minor” scales, but are based on slightly different scales called modes. Each mode has characteristic melodic patterns and gestures that each create a slightly different affect. There’s a story about a day in the filming of The Harps in the Trees when the trees appeared to be expressing a modal preference…

A chant for Saint Columba, from the soundtrack to the short documentary film The Harps in the Trees, with music played by my guest Cheryl Ann Fulton and her harp ensemble Angelorum. The film documents the ensemble’s journey to Scotland, where they went to the workshops of Ardival harps, where their harps were made, and then took their instruments into the forest to play for the trees from which the wood for their instruments had been sourced.

Music from the soundtrack of the short documentary film The Harps in the Trees, played by Cheryl Ann Fulton, my guest this hour on Harmonia, and her harp ensemble Angelorum. You can view the film through a link on Cheryl’s website at www.cherylannfulton.com.

“O frondens,” from the soundtrack of the documentary The Harp in the Trees, with music by Cheryl Ann Fulton and her harp ensemble Angelorum. We’ll be back after a short break with Cheryl and more stories about her teacher Tom Binkley – something we have in common, as we were both Binkley’s students – and some music for triple harp.


Thomas Binkley and the Early Music Institute

Welcome back. Harpist Cheryl Ann Fulton is my guest on this edition of Harmonia.

Earlier in the program we mentioned Thomas Binkley, who was an important teacher and mentor for both Cheryl and myself at different times in our musical lives.

Harpist Cheryl Ann Fulton played the “Lamento di Tristano” and “La Rotta,” from her CD The Once and Future Harp. Cheryl is my guest on Harmonia this week, and we have been reminiscing a bit about her teacher (and mine), Thomas Binkley.

We heard William Lawe’s Harpe Consort in G Major, played by Cheryl Ann Fulton, Triple Harp; Robert Grossman, Theorbo; Stanley Ritchie, baroque Violin; and Roy Whelden, Bass Viol. That’s from a 1983 recording on the Indiana University Early Music Institute’s FOCUS label.

Those of you who listen to Harmonia regularly may or may not realize that you hear Cheryl Ann Fulton at the beginning of every Harmonia program, in the harp flourish that begins our theme music, which was recorded by Ensemble Alcatraz.

Harpist Cheryl Ann Fulton has been my guest on Harmonia this week.


Break and theme music

:60, The Harps in the Trees, Angelorum, Magnatune 2018, Tr. 7 Tetrardus

Theme: Danse Royale, Ensemble Alcatraz, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 1992 B000005J0B, Tr. 12 La Prime Estampie Royal

The writer for this edition of Harmonia was Angela Mariani.

Learn more about recent early music CDs on the Harmonia Early Music Podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes or at http://www.harmoniaearlymusic.org.

Music Heard On This Episode

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Harmonia Early Music

Harmonia Early Music is a nationally syndicated weekly early music radio program, podcast and blog produced by WFIU Public Radio.

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