Wednesday, April 12, 2006


If you can get to Carnegie Hall (alright already with the practice jokes!) this Sunday (yes Easter Sunday) April 16th - go see harpist Kirsten Agresta play Claude Debussy's Danse sacrée et danse profane.

Kirsten Agresta

"In 1904, Pleyel’s had commissioned Debussy to compose a work to demonstrate the musical potential of their own new design of harp. Instead of the conventional pedal instrument, Pleyel had devised in 1897 a ‘chromatic harp’ with a string for each semi-tone. Erard’s design eventually proved the most successful, but like the Ravel, Debussy’s Danses are now well-established in the conventional pedal harp repertoire. The ‘danse sacrée’ has an antique character, coloured by modal rather than tonal harmony, influenced perhaps by the style of Satie’s famous Gymnopédies for piano (two of which Debussy orchestrated), but far more sophisticated: in the composer’s word: ‘It’s not possible to write down the exact form of a rhythm, any more than it is to explain the different effects of a single phrase’. The contrasting ‘danse profane’ introduces gentle waltz theme in D major which is developed with exquisite grace and increasingly elaborate harp ornamentation, building to an impassioned climax and deliberately understated finish, almost tongue-in-cheek."

Interesting that Dan Brown's (who just won his court case in England) The Da Vinci Code (soon to be in theaters) mentions the unsupported rumor that Debussy was a grand master of the Priory of Sion, a secret society that is said to have existed since the middle ages.

Anyway, that's this Sunday afternoon at 2pm who those of you at home keeping score and who should get out for some great live music.

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