Catrin Finch, "Queen of Harps", Blazes a New Trail wtih Bach's Goldberg Variations
Available Exclusively from iTunes on May 26
at All Digital Retailers on June 7
CD Available in-Stores June 23
The acclaimed Welsh harpist Catrin Finch makes her Detusche Grammophon solo recording debut with her own breathtaking arrangement of Bach’s masterpiece for keyboard, The Goldberg Variations – arguably the most challenging project of her career. The album will be available exclusively from iTunes on May 26 and receive complete distribution on June 23, 2009.
Catrin’s meteoric rise to fame includes being named the Royal Harpist to H.R.H. The Prince of Wales from 2000 through 2004. This honored position was last held in 1873, making the appointment a truly momentous occasion for the young harpist (she was still at the Royal Academy of Music at the time).
“When I re-established the ancient tradition of appointing a harpist to the Prince of Wales, little did I imagine that I would find someone with such a rare and special talent as Catrin” – H.R.H The Prince of Wales
Since then, Catrin has traveled the world and worked tirelessly to expand not only the popularity of this ancient instrument but also the repertory. This was the motivation that resulted with her meticulously transcribing Bach’s monumental work, a process that took a year to complete. Though excerpts have been performed before, this is the first recording to feature the complete Goldberg Variations arranged for harp. “My hope is that my Goldberg Variations for the harp will come to occupy a respected place in the harp’s core repertoire, as always happens to good arrangements,” according to Catrin. “I hope they will be accepted by the doubters, by people who say they weren’t expecting to enjoy it, but did. I’m also doing it for my own pleasure – I’ve learned most of the harp repertoire, and my way forward is always to learn new pieces. Bach is one of my favorite composers, and the only way I can play more of him is by putting him onto my instrument.”
Catrin’s virtuoso talent is more than equal to the challenge Bach presents – a challenge that many pianists cannot even surmount. With intricate fingerings and the complexly chromatic 25th variation, there is no shortage of awe-inspiring technical brilliance in Catrin’s performance. She is just as comfortable with the subtle shadings and lyrical moments which allow her harp to sing and resonate in a manner many pianists would surely envy.
“With one touch of the strings – the opening notes of the Bach – Ms. Finch pulverized the stereotype of harpists as pretty, angelic strummers, blowing it away with a big, strong sound.” – The New York Times on a performance of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor