Pedal or Lever Harp

Concerto in B-flat by Handel arranged by Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher PDF Downloads

  • PEDAL Harp version
  • $8.00
  • LEVER Harp version
  • $8.00

Versions for lever and pedal harp.

Handel's B-flat Concerto is one of the best-known harp pieces. Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher started with the original manuscript and created two arrangements: one for advanced lever harp players, and one for intermediate to advanced pedal harpists. Darhon has included performance notes and an explanation of the ornamentations used. Some fingerings are included. Each 21-page PDF includes 16 pages of music.

PEDAL Harp Version: This arrangement is for upper intermediate to advanced pedal harpists, and can be played on the smaller 40-string pedal harps such as the Salvi Daphne and the Lyon and Healy 85-Petite.

LEVER Harp Version: This arrangement is for advanced lever harpists, as there are extensive lever changes. It was designed for lever harps with 40 strings. Darhon explains the ranges needed in this manner:
Full-sized lever harps typically range from 36 to 40 strings. Wherever any bass note exceeds the "low C" of the 36-string lever harp, I have indicated that note in parenthesis. However, harps that possess the additional bass strings should play these notes at all times. This transcription can also be played on a 34-string lever harp (low C) with only minor alterations in a few upper notes.

Here's how Darhon describes these arrangements.

When Handel wrote his famous 1736 concerto for harp, two flutes, string ensemble and continuo, the result was a charming concerto of modest proportions. In fact, it was used as incidental music for the ode Alexander's Feast, later revised by Handel for other performances in 1739, 1742 and 1751. By modern standards, we would hardly consider his opus to be a virtuoso vehicle for the concert harp. Handel's notation appears rather "sparse" on the page compared with later transcriptions of the work.

The original Handel harp part resembled nothing like the rather grandiose transcriptions done by harp masters Carlos Salzedo and Marcel Grandjany. The triple-strung harps of Handel's day had a much smaller bass range than the modern concert harp and were more lightly strung, enabling the performer to "dance lightly" on the strings. With all respect to the genius of Messrs. Salzedo and Grandjany, certain aspects of their interpretations were heavily influenced by the greater range, string tension and technical capabilities of the late romantic double-action pedal harp. This instrument had not been invented by Handel's time.

In this transcription of Handel's famous harp concerto, I have attempted to capture the "spirit" of the original version. However, the chords have been filled out slightly, some tasteful ornamentation, passing tones, octave adjustments and harpistic flourishes have been added here and there. I have tried to maintain some of the customary inner voicing that has become traditional in the performance of this work. First and second ending indications have been added in order to facilitate page turns in some repeated sections.

It is not my intent to produce any sort of "historically accurate" document that rigidly adheres to the rules of Baroque counterpoint, even though numerous historical sources were consulted in the development of this transcription. Rather, I am providing a more "reasonable" solo version of this wonderful concerto that can be played on a harp similar in size to what was available in the late Baroque era. It is my hope that students, teachers, and Baroque lovers will enjoy this version.

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