MP3 Barbra Bailey Bradley - Harp-Felt
My own harp compositions, traditional tunes arranged for solo harp in special ways, and light classics adapted for solo harp, all blended together for a relaxing listening experience
22 MP3 Songs
CLASSICAL: Traditional, EASY LISTENING: Mood Music
Barbra’s second CD – Harp-Felt – was completed in the fall of 2006, and contains her own harp compositions in addition to her arrangements of traditional tunes and music from the Baroque and Classic periods. It is recorded on a Heartland 36 String Sylvan lever harp.
Lakes of Pontchartrain is a southern American folk song. Barbra first heard Pamela Bruner sing it at the Somerset Folk Harp Festival, fell in love with it, and made this arrangement for solo harp. It has become her signature piece.
Sonata for Harp, 2006, is an original composition for harp by Barbra Bailey Bradley, and has three movements – Joy, Peace, and Exuberance. Each movement reflects a different mood, and all three movements are inspired by the style of the Classic period. The sonata, in the Classic Period, was a piece of music for a solo instrument to play, and the word has its derivation in the Italian verb, sonare [to sound.]
Joy is written in Sonata Form, with an Exposition, Development, and Recapitulation. The Development is in the minor mode, while the rest of the piece is in the Major mode. It displays a happy lyricism.
Peace is more of a Song Form, and is repeated in its entirety. It is a contrast in mood to the feeling of Joy, and evokes a feeling of contentment.
Exuberance is a Slip Jig, written in a loose Sonata Form, with the Development in the key of the Dominant. It is the most exciting of the three in mood.
Swing Low/Steal Away Medley is an arrangement of two traditional spirituals. It was set first as an ensemble piece, and premiered in that genre by the Finale Ensemble of the 2006 Annual Benefit Concert of the Washington Area Folk Harp Society. The solo version was created as a way of making it a more versatile performing piece. The music has a soothing quality to it.
Chester Variations is a theme and five variations set on an old hymn tune from the Revolutionary War Period, and written by William Billings. Barbra first heard the tune at Colonial Williamsburg – on her honeymoon – and decided that it would make a lovely starting point for a set of variations.
A Medley of Carols was originally written as an ensemble piece for the Heatherwood Harp Ensemble’s 2005 holiday performing season. The solo version was created as a way of making it a more versatile performing piece. The three carols – Past Three A’Clock, The Holly and the Ivy, and The Sans Day Carol – are well known carols [in England] from the English tradition. Barbra has been familiar with The Holly and the Ivy from her childhood years in Canada, but first heard and fell in love with Past Three A’Clock and The Sans Day Carol when she spent a memorable Christmas with her relatives in Nottingham. Even today, the carols bring back wonderful memories.
Greensleeves is a tune familiar to many – both as the Christmas carol, What Child is This, and as it is played in its original title. Barbra set it originally for one of her harp students, and then expanded it for the recording.
The four Inventions – No. 8 in F, No. 4 in d minor, No. 1 in C, and No. 10 in G – by J.S. Bach are well known to most people who studied piano as children. They are pieces from the keyboard literature of the Baroque Period. Barbra has arranged them for lever harp, and has chosen to give them a slightly different interpretation than that of most young keyboard students.
A Medley for Sue was originally written as an ensemble piece for Sue Richards’ Unsemble to perform at the 2006 Annual Benefit Concert of the Washington Area Folk Harp Society. The solo version was created as a way of making it a more versatile performing piece. It is a medley of two traditional tunes – A Man’s a Man and The Old Foreign Hag.
Sonatina in F by Ludwig van Beethoven is a sonatina from the keyboard literature of the Classic Period [Sonatinas are small Sonatas.] It had two movements – Allegro and Rondo – and is another well known piece of music for beginning pianists. Barbra has created a version that is more approachable for the lever harp.
Variations on the Cherry Tree Carol is a theme and ten variations on a carol from the old English tradition. Barbra heard it first on a childhood trip to Toronto – sung by a church choir – and decided to set it in the variation style as a way of performing it on the harp. It has always been one of her favourite carols.
Simple Gifts is a traditional tune from the eastern United States. Barbra set it originally for one of her harp students, and then expanded it for the recording.
Shaker Tune / En Roulant combines tunes from Canada – where Barbra was born – and the eastern United States – where she now lives. She first heard En Roulant while studying piano pedagogy at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. The song is from the French Canadian tradition. Shaker Tune is another version of Simple Gifts – with a rather fascinating change of rhythm and feeling. Shaker/En Roulant was originally written as an ensemble piece for the Heatherwood Harp Ensemble, and was premiered in that genre at the 2005 Annual Benefit Concert of the Washington Area Folk Harp Society. The solo version was created as a way of making it a more versatile performing piece, so that it could be enjoyed in settings where the harp ensemble would not fit.
Sonatina in G by Thomas Attwood is another sonatina from the keyboard literature of the Classic Period. [Sonatinas are small Sonatas.] It has three movements – Allegro, Andante, and Allegro – and is another piece that beginning pianists learn. Barbra has created a version that is more approachable on the lever harp.
Nostalgia is an original composition for harp by Barbra Bailey Bradley. It came about after a bus ride in downtown Washington, DC, where Barbra observed some of the old buildings around Farrugut Square, and began to reminisce about her childhood, other past associations, and earlier times. It is a fitting close to the recording.
If you liked Straight from the Harp, you will love Harp-Felt.