HARP ON WIGHT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 2021 22nd - 26th October 2021
After becoming an onlline event in 2020 due to Coronavirus, the Harp on Wight Internnational Festival made a welcome return to live performances during October. There four days of concerts and teaching workshops at Ryde Methodist Church - the first live harp festival to be held in the UK for two years. Following the traditional harp-themed dinner at Michelangelo's Restaurant on Thursday, 21st there was s spectacular solld out opening concert at the Church the following evening. It featured the Festival's Patron Anne Denholm who joined forces with the thirty-strong Voices of the Isle of Wight Choir conducted by Linda Filby-Borrett to give the event an uplifting start, concluded by a rousing version of the English traditional song. 'Dashing Away With The Smoothing Iron'. Leading young harpists Tara Viscardi from Ireland and Maria Mc Namee from Northen Ireland performed in the traditional Saturday afternoon Performance Platform concert. Maria performed some complex and delicate pieces , including 'Rhapsodie pour la harpe' by Marcel Grandjany. A lovely gentle version of Gabriel Verdalle's 'Impromtu no 2' stood out in Tara's programme. Lauren Scott gave a delightfuly intricate Saturday evening concert on lever harp. Lauren's own composition 'The Leaping Salmon' and Monika Stadler's 'Away For A While' were highlights of the first half , with 'Be Thou My Vision' and 'Across The Universe' impressing in the second half. Lauren was joined by Anne Denholm for her encore piece. Alexander Rider's Sunday afrernoon concert of music by French composers , played on an original Erhard pedal harp was both engaging and informative as he gave detailed explanations about each piece. Scottish harpist Catriona Mc Kay gave an immaculate Sunday evening concert which maintained the festival's reputation for performances of a very high standard. She began with a suite of music from her 'Love In Secret' album , recorded during the first lockdown of 2020 - a lovely deep but delicate sound. The speed and dexterity of Catriona's playing is mesmeric. A great concet had a fitting ending with the encore 'Swan LK243' - Catriona's well-known composition is an absolute harp classic. The students who had taken part in Lauren Scott's workshop gave a concert on the Monday afternoon, together with Lauren and Alexander, The festival concluded with another top performance by Anne-Marie O'Farrell from Ireland with a wide repertoire ranging from Bach cello suites transcribed for lever harp in the first half to the Welsh tune 'Rising of The Lark' and the jig 'Gander In The Pratie Hole' in the second , all played with great technical ability , with lever changes at dazzling speed. Festival Secretary Vic King said "The concerts are workshops were well attended ,,and we were very pleased with how our eighth festival went, especially given the current circunstances." Speaking after the event, Festival Director Anna Sacchini spoke of a real depth to the concerts which she felt went beyond just the actual music itself.