Saturday 28 March 2015

Rüdiger Oppermann's 1985 Celtic Harp opus Reise Nach Harfistan (i.e. Journey to Harpistan)

He made several albums.  From discogs:

German harpist and experimental musician. He specializes in the Celtic harp, which he began playing in 1973. A musician devoted to exploring all musical cultures, Oppermann has collaborated with folk musicians from around the world, particularly musicians from Africa and Asia. Rudiger Oppermann might be best described as a free-style and experimental folk musician, who draws on both ancient and modern musics and musical traditions, to create a melting pot of musical cultures that cannot be ascribed to any one folk tradition. 

From the record insert:

The harp is the oldest stringed instrument in the world, its form being etched on the face of stones as many as 12000 years ago, in various ancient cultures (Egypt, Mesopotamia, Celts, Central Asia, Zimbabwe), the harp played in important role specifically as a magical instrument: the portrayal of the human body with taut strings connecting the head and stomach.

Of interest here is that not just the concert harp is used in this music, but the wire-strung trad. Celtic harp (which was developed some 800 years ago), a Kundi which is an African bowed harp, Kora (West African Lute Harp) and Wind Harp (Aeolian Harp).

The sidelong track on side b called "The Mist Rider" comprises the following passages:

The Tones of Fong (Chinese progression of F - C - G - D - A)
Nhemamusasa (Zimbabwean finger piece with xylophone)
Morrisons (trad. harp tune from the Celtic Epoch, used by famed master Alan Stivell)
Zongo (a five-voiced "flying carpet piece" with 3 celtic harps, electric guitar, and percussion)
Paradise of the Heart (which includes vibrato and stretched tones)
Gending Tirtakenjana (A Java melody originally played on Gamelan)

And I think the composition closes out with the original diatonic C major with which it began.  So you can see there is quite a bit of the 'world music' influence here.  The whole flows quite beautifully through the passages making it a little difficult sometimes to tell where you are in the above six parts.  Still, a journey worth making, far more attractive than to any other of the '-stans'.

A track called "Amethyst" provides some very interesting tintinnabulation by the harp on a bass basis:

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