Andrew Lawrence-King – Harp Music of the Italian Renaissance (1986)

FrontCover1I believe that this was Andrew Lawrence-King’s first recording (1986), and this sterling effort is ample proof of why he went on to become a well-established figure in his field. He has appeared on numerous recordings, including many with Jordi Savall’s Hesperian XX, and is currently the director of the Harp Consort. The program is both musically interesting and eminently listenable; given Lawrence-King’s credentials (he won an Organ Scholarship to Selwyn College, Cambridge and completed his studies at the London Early Music Centre) his understanding of the material is unquestionably comprehensive. His technical execution is equally impressive.

Half of the disc is taken up by six pieces from Trabaci, a harpist, organist and singer who was an important forerunner of Frescobaldi; the remainder comes from a variety of composers all of whom lived between the late sixteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries. If the music itself sounds like it could just as easily be heard on the lute or keyboard, that’s because it originally was. In fact, all of the pieces here were written for these instruments (or voice), as very little music that was written for harp during this period has survived. The chromatic double harp is an ideal vehicle for these works, which range from love songs and dance music to madrigals. There’s a peaceful simplicity to much of this music that transports the listener to another place and time.

I’m not surprised that in a 1987 review, Gramophone’s critic called this disc “an impressive debut, beautifully recorded, certain to win new friends for the harp as a medium for this music…” I agree. (by jsa)

And here some informations about a real gret musician, called Andrew Lawrence-King:

Born: 1959 – Guernsey, England

The English virtuoso harp-soloist and a uniquely versatile continuo player, Andrew Lawrence-King, is recognised as one of Europe’s leading early music artists, leader of The Harp Consort and the rising new star of the baroque scene as conductor ‘from the continuo’ of orchestras, choirs and staged operas.

Andrew Lawrence-King’s musical career began as Head Chorister at the Cathedral & Parish Church of St Peter Port, Guernsey. At the age of 17 he gained the LRAM diploma and won an Organ Scholarship to Selwyn College, Cambridge. Having graduated in Mathematics, he completed his musical studies at London Early Music Centre. He studied there Voice and Continuo, and his teachers included Emma Kirkby, Roger Norrington and Nigel Rogers.

After finishing his studies, Andrew Lawrence-King pursued a double international career as counter-tenor and continuo-player. He took up the harp quite by chance, and in the absence of a modern school of baroque harp-playing, taught himself to play, using period treatises and iconography. He has a large collection of harps copied from Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque originals, and has made particular study of the original techniques of “striking” the harp. He quickly established himself in London, performing and recording with nearly all the leading specialist ensembles: he has made over 100 recordings of music ranging from Troubadour lyrics (with Paul Hillier for ECM) to new music for early harp (John Paul Jones’ ‘Amores Pasados’ with The Harp Consort for DHM) and including two accounts of the George Frideric Handel Harp Concerto – with The Sixteen, and with Andrew Parrott’s Taverner Players.

After six years as harpist and keyboard player with the Baroque ensemble Tragicomedia, for whom he created many musical arrangements and concert programmes, most recently a recording of Anna Magdalena Bach’s ‘Notenbüchlein’, Andrew Lawrence-King formed his own ensemble, The Harp Consort in 1994. Taking its inspiration from the original 17th century ‘Consorte’ created by Charles I, The Harp Consort is a mixed vocal and instrumental ensemble that brings together world-class soloists in various line-ups, according to the repertoire being performed.

The Harp Consort’s combination of detailed historical research with the dramatic spontaneity of improvised performance won them instant critical acclaim. Their debut recording, Ribayaz’s 17th century collection of dance music from Spain, Italy, South America and Africa, ‘Luz y Norte’ forms the basis of a Baroque stage show of improvised music and dance. Luz y Norte toured America for the first time in 1996, and will be given at Australia’s Brisbane Festival and in the Sydney Opera House in 97.

Andrew Lawrence-King’s schedule for performances – solo, with The Harp Consort and as a guest conductor – takes him this season to Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Scandinavia and Japan. The Harp Consort has two USA tours as well as a busy recording schedule, turning their attention now also to medieval music. DHM has recently released their second CD, Carolan’s Harp: dances, airs and laments by Turlough O’Carolan, “the chief musician of all Ireland”.

Andrew Lawrence-King (harp)


Giovanni Maria Trabaci:
01. Toccata Seconda & Ligature 2.57
02. Gagliarda a 4, la Talinella 2.20
03. Ancidetemi pur 7.22 10.58
04. Gagliarda Terza a 5, sopra La Matoana 3.34
05. Partite sopra Zefiro 10.58
06. Gagliarda Quarta, alla Spagnola 4.30

Cesare Negri:
07. La Barriera 4.14

08. Vergine Bella 2.43

Cesare Negri:
09. Brando per Quattro Pastore e Quattro Ninfe 5.39

Ascanio Mayone:
10. Toccata Prima 5.10

11. Gagliarda Prima 2.51

Fabrizio Fillimarino:
12. Canzon Cromatica 4.11

Giuliano Caccini:
13. Amarilli mia bella 3.26