Surprisingly, the great composer and conductor Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), who’s works – such as the well-known Adagietto of the 5th symphony – are considered among the most beautiful pages of the pedal harp music, actually did hear of the Celtic harp during his life. However unlikely that, in the 19th century, the Austrian composer would have had the opportunity to see – and even less hear – the harp of the bards, he couldn’t ignore the existence of such an instrument. (more…)
Following the article about the musicians' technique, Philippe raised an interesting and precise question about musical expressivity in Breton and Irish traditional fast tunes. An essential component in the performance of slow airs, what then is the expressivity in tunes such as reels, jigs, gavottes, ridées or other fast tunes? The expressive means is a wide topic that could be the subject of a Doctoral thesis. Let us focus on a couple of points, particularly the transposition of expressive tools from one music to another, keeping in mind an essential question: what are we talking about when evoking "musical expressivity"?