Clouds Harp Quartet

Sternberg Clarke

The elegance of the art in upstairs galleries was respected and enhanced by a stunning harp quartet, all dressed in white with yellow eyeshadow, filling the long cavernous Gallery 8 with floating music across the evening. The entertainment was tailored entirely to fit the venue and our client’s brief.

From our performance in Sunderland Minster, by David Meadows.

I’m struggling to come up with a way to describe the piece. It’s for four harps (obviously) and is in five movements, lasting approximately 30 minutes (though this apparently varies as there are improvisational elements in the central movements). It’s modern-sounding but though it includes unconventional playing techniques such as tapping on the soundboard in various ways and slapping the strings with the palm of the hand, it’s melodic enough that I don’t think it would upset people who prefer their music to have a more traditional sound, and it seems heavily built around a small number of recurring themes… hmm… this is probably a poor analogy, but if Steve Reich was to write music for four harps I imagine it might sound something like this. That’s the best description I can manage.

But all that’s irrelevant. What really matters is that I was entertained, impressed, and moved by the beauty and the intricacy of the music these four young people were making. Seriously one of the best gigs I’ve experienced, and if I ever get the chance to see this quartet again I would jump at it.

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