Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Successful Harp Transplant by Ben Melsky

Ben Melsky strikes me as a special musician. He is a harpist. That is special in itself. There must be 5,000 flute players and 100,000 guitarists for every harpist in this world. He has impressive training from Northwestern University, one of the best music programs in the U.S.A. He has a breadth of repertoire that you can't believe - ranging from the Dixie Chicks to Debussy and at his young age has appeared with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Clay Aiken. But what probably impresses me most is his commitment to the composers of Latin America. He has personally transcribed for harp, music by Brouwer, Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos and, of course, Piazzolla.

The featured video shows Melksky playing Triston from Piazzolla's Cinqo Piezas para Guitarra. These guitar pieces were written in the early 80's for solo guitar, probably with the late Cachao Tirao in mind although according to the Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, they were introduced to the public by Roberto Aussel. Melsky has also provided videos for two of the other Cinqo Piezas, Accentuado and Campero, which can be viewed below. Hopefully, the remaining two, Romantico and Compadre, will eventually make it to YouTube once Ben overcomes some reported technical transfer problems.

If you want to judge for yourself the success of Melsky's transplant of Cinqo Piezas from guitar to harp, you might want to view the definitive performance of Campero by Roberto Aussel (starts at 3'17" into the video) and compare it to Melsky's performance of Campero.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

Two additional videos:

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

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