Harp music, please.
April 22, 2021 12:04 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for some good-quality instrumental harp music to listen to while working or relaxing.

There is a lot of not-quality harp music to be found online. Very day-spa, lots of forest-noises and ocean-crashing background sounds, and a fantastic number of 6-hour midi loops trying really hard to be the background music for a Ren Faire.
I am really interested in instrumental, high-quality, music. I would like anything I could ideally put on to work by, relax, and possibly just have a few cups of tea with. While long ago I listened to the more instrumental and slow pieces by Alan Stivell (and in fact really love En Enor Séamus, a piece I cannot link to as it is a bonus track on an album), I am not much for his prog-rock inclinations. I like his traditional Bretagne stuff, but not for these purposes. And while this is absolutely charming, I am looking for either original works or classical solo pieces, not recognizable covers.
Thank you very much in advance.
posted by oflinkey to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I enjoy some of the sonatas & other pieces by Jan Ladislav Dussek and/or (some of the attributions have changed over time, or are disputed) his wife Sophia Corri Dussek.

I don't know if the presence of a second instrument would disqualify it, but the collaborations between harpist Catrin Finch and kora-player Seckou Keita are wonderful.

Also, I chanced upon these intriguing (but brief) 17th-century Welsh harp pieces recently.
posted by misteraitch at 12:34 PM on April 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Detach, an album of contemporary classical harp music by Angela Schwarzkopf won the solo/chamber classical Juno (Canadian Grammys) last year, it's wonderful!
posted by phlox at 12:53 PM on April 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't suppose that Alice Coltrane's free-form, harp-centric jazz would fit the bill, here, exactly, but I did want to mention it, as I sometimes listen to it "in the background" when I'm focusing on other tasks. I figure that Journey in Satchidananda is probably the best entry point; it's an incredible album.
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:01 PM on April 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I used to do a lot of studying while listing to traditional Japanese Koto music...I think it has a lot in common with some of the feelings I get from Harp music in general.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:27 PM on April 22, 2021

Best answer: I really like the work of Robin Huw Bowen. He plays traditional Welsh music on a Welsh triple harp. There are samples on youtube.

May not fit the bill because traditional (?) but thought I should mention because excellent and harp.

Ludwig Spohr, a classical composer and contemporary of Beethoven, wrote harp music for his wife, who was a harpist.

If you want to get Teutonic, in Bavaria there is a great tradition of folk harp playing.

Also, though not to my taste, maybe you'd like the music of electric harpist Andreas Vollenweider.
posted by bertran at 1:38 PM on April 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mary Lattimore has like a million albums. I like At The Dam from 2016. Sparse layered loops.
posted by clockwork at 1:39 PM on April 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Check out the German harpist Merit Zloch. Not only is she a true virtuoso but her music is full of Feeling yet not kitschig as so much of harp music.
posted by 15L06 at 2:06 PM on April 22, 2021

In the Channels section of her YT channel you will also find lots of good stuff.
posted by 15L06 at 2:07 PM on April 22, 2021

Best answer: Seconding jazz harp, if you'd be up for it - Dorothy Ashby is go-to music for me when I want to concentrate with groove.

Hip Harp
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 2:16 PM on April 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You might like Patrick Ball, who plays Celtic Harp music.
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:27 PM on April 22, 2021

Mary Lattimore. The warm shoulder. (Cutest title)
posted by firstdaffodils at 6:09 PM on April 22, 2021

Thirding Mary Lattimore. My go-to writing soundtrack.
posted by mani at 12:33 AM on April 23, 2021

Best answer: I can also recommend some jazz harp: Brandee Younger.
posted by crLLC at 11:12 AM on April 23, 2021

Best answer: This Appears to Disappear by Cassie Watson Francillon is really lovely. It's all original pieces, and it's both mellow and lively in a very nice way.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 2:04 PM on April 23, 2021

You might like Rhodri Davies' recent more melodic work, like Telyn Rawn.
posted by RGD at 9:19 AM on April 28, 2021

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