Album Release

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bernard's Christmas

An independent solo harp Christmas album infused with the works of Bernard Andrès, legendary French harp composer...

I've been playing the harp for twenty short years now. It wasn't long into my harp lessons that I was exposed to the works of Bernard Andrès.  Today, I own 36 of his publishings, but my collection is not complete.

I started avidly collecting his works 10 years ago, about when the birth of this project began.  I was experimenting with my way through some of his pieces during Christmastime in my apartment in Los Angeles. As a gift to my family, I had planned to make a little Christmas album of solo harp. One thing led to another, and an improvised album of Christmas music combined with selections of Bernard Andrès was made. 

Bernard Andrès is my favorite composer for the harp. His music is simple, thoughtful, and idiomatic. Oh- and AMAZING! He was born in France in 1941 and lives hours away from my home. I've tried to meet him personally a few times, but have only succeeded by snail mail correspondence. All photos I've seen of him are smiley and warm. My harp students can tell you: I'm a fan. They are each subjected to learn at least one of his pieces at some point. There was even an Andrès piece played at my wedding. So: fan. 

I pull up the album every December. It's one of the few recordings of mine that I actually enjoy listening to. :-) "Wouldn't it be fun to actually revisit this album and record it in a studio?" I've thought to myself for the past 10 years. 

And it finally came time. I mustered up the courage to write to Mr. Andrès and sent him the little home recording, asking him if he would be up for letting me re-do it "for real." And... yes! He said yes!

So the plan is to re-record the album professionally in November and release the new album in time for Christmas 2014. I'm so excited about this project! It's a tribute to Mr. Andrès,  a celebration of Christmas music that I love (no Jingle Bells, sorry), and feels very "me." 

There are many people that come to mind when I'm practicing and preparing to record this program... I think of my aunts that I don’t get to see enough of and them decorating their Christmas tree. I would love for this music to be with them on Christmas eve. I think of my sister and our Christmas album days growing up. We had a few different records that we would throw on and dance around the house to... in bright green socks. I think about those socks. For me, music plays a crucial part in Christmas celebration.

I also think about the baby girl in my belly. She’s getting to hear a LOT of Christmas music and Mr. Andrès’ music... I wonder if these pieces will be imprinted into her conscience.

I think about the words to the Christmas carols and what they mean to me. 

I envision people baking serious holiday cookies to this album. I envision someone listening to this when they might be alone on Christmas eve. Or perhaps two parents throwing this music on while playing Santa Claus.

And, of course, I think of Bernard Andrès and his creative genius. 

Here is the tentative track listing (only the Christmas piece is listed):

The Holly and the Ivy
Whence is that Goodly Fragrance
Unto us is Born a Son
Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Still Still Still
The First Noel
Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
Carol of the Bells
Coventry Carol
We Three Kings 
I Wonder as I Wonder
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Marche des Rois
What Child is This?
Basque Carol

Join me in getting this project up and running!