The world is a visual place now. We follow people on Instagram. We follow people of YouTube. Therefore this month I have (finally!) decided to move with the times and have set myself the task of recording some videos of me playing so that you can all see what I am all about.
Firstly, I had to decide where to film. Filming at my house in Epsom, Surrey is a bit tricky, as we constantly have the noise of traffic, trains, emergency services and life in general from living in suburbia. My parents, however have ‘retired to the country’ and have moved to the pretty market town of Petworth in Sussex. The only noise that they have to contend with is the occasional squawking pheasant, so their living room was chosen for the ‘set’.
Next was deciding what to play. Naturally I have a lot of pieces of music ‘under the fingers’ at any one time, but there are issues with recording a number of them. Firstly is copyright. Any music written in the UK is under copyright laws for at least 70 years. This means that technically if you are caught performing a piece of music that is written after about 1950, you could be sued by the composers or performers as the music is their property. There are many performers out there who risk it, but I am rather risk adverse so I have chosen to record pieces that are older than this, so that no-one tells me off! The other consideration, however, was that I needed music that people want to listen to – some classical music is technically very interesting, but not that nice to listen to, so I didn’t want to worry about that! I came up with fifteen pieces that I wanted to do and so off we went.
Went tried filming from several different angles, but I loved this one close up of my hands of Eric Satie’s ‘Gymnopodie No 1’, a piece originally written for piano. As the camera only takes a certain number of frames per second, you can really see the vibration of the strings, almost in slow motion!
It was a tiring day, with several retakes, either because I wasn’t happy, or something went wrong. We were doing well with a recording of Camille Saint-Saens’ ‘The Swan’ when my harp decided it had had enough – and shot the Swan! (Well, it sounded like it, in fact one of my main strings went bang!). I was playing the final flourish when it decided to break, scaring the living daylights out of me! Strings breaking has only ever happened to me twice before when I’ve been playing, usually it happens when I’m moving the harp, or when it’s not being played, so I certainly wasn’t prepared for it!
Over the next few months I will be sharing some more of the videos from that day, but if you can’t wait, I’ve posted a few on my YouTube channel. Enjoy and watch this space for more!