FRESQUE MARINE: Forgotten Jewels for Harp CD

by Willowhayne Records in Fareham, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 28th November 2020 we successfully raised £3,020 with 117 supporters in 28 days

This project aims to raise funds for a CD of mostly previously unrecorded Franch harp music, played by Alexander Rider on an Erard harp.

by Willowhayne Records in Fareham, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Extra revenue will go towards increased marketing of this important CD, as well as funding new and unique recordings.

Quite early on in Alexander Rider's “harp-life” he became fascinated with a number of important French harpists, historically speaking. Enigmatic figures, who fascinated and galvanised Debussy, Fauré, Ravel, Caplet, Vierne and many more to write for the harp. 

Later, he was honoured to receive a Guildhall artist fellowship to research the life of one such harpist, Micheline Kahn (1889-1987) and all music associated with her. This led to many adventures in research, which are still ongoing. His work with Micheline led him to explore that wonderful flowering of harp literature that occurred in Paris at the turn of the last century.

Over years of intense fascination with this époque, Alexander has gathered from archive sources a number of little-known original  (and one or two arranged) works for the harp. Having sifted through and studied all of these, he has found that with a few exceptions, these have never been recorded. Ravishing, substantial and impressionistic works, from some of the most popular composers writing for the harp… and largely speaking, we don’t know them.

The Programme

Auguste Chapuis (1858-1933)

David devant L’Arche 

Harpe Eolienne


Guy Ropartz (1864-1955)


Marcel Tournier (1879-1951)

Fresque Marine

La Rouet Enchantée

Henriette Renié (1875-1956)

Promenade Matinale I: Au Loin, dans la verdure, la mer calme et mystérieuse

Promenade Matinale II:  Dans la campagne ensoleilée, la rosée scintille

Jacques Pillois (1877-1935) arr. Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975)

i.) à la manière de Lully

ii.) à la manière de Fauré (Romance sans parôles)

Henri Büsser (1872-1973)

Impromptu sur des Airs Japonais

About Alexander Rider's Harp

To record this music, I would intend to use my own Erard ‘Gothic’ Concert Harp, built in Paris in 1902. Besides being smaller, lighter and markedly more graceful the modern instruments, it is the difference in sound that is really striking. Modern orchestral instruments are built for power, and awesome projection. The old French Erard instruments, however, have enveloping warmth, mellowness, and subtlety of attack, while being transparent and sparkling in the upper register. This is  arguably due to  their lightly constructed soundboard.  This harp has its original soundboard - it is highly unusual to find this, given the great age of these instruments. Most importantly, even as harps grew larger and more heavily developed, great French performers stuck to this kind of harp, and it was indeed the sound French composers heard in their aural imagination as they composed.

About funding this recording

Every project needs funding, and the financial landscape has changed dramatically over the past year.  A year ago, Alexander would have envisaged largely producing this at his own expense. The global pandemic has stripped musicians of this agency. This album will be an important document that celebrates the richness of the harp, and that of a truly period instrument. The ‘small repertoire’ of the harp is often lamented, the store of French repertoire well-and-truly, raided. This is not the case, and it is time once again to share this exquisite music with the world.

Your support will help to pay for venue hire, recording producer / engineer, artwork designer and the cost of producing the physical CDs. This unique recording will be distributed worldwide, both physically and digitally.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

Digital Download

A thank you for supporting French Treasures for harp, and a digital download

£15 or more

Pre-release CD

A thank you for supporting French Treasures for Harp, and a CD

£20 or more

Digital Download & Booklet Acknowledgement

A digital download of the album, and a mention in the booklet.

£25 or more

Pre-release CD & booklet acknowledgement

A CD, and a mention in the booklet.

£30 or more

Signed CD & booklet acknowledgement

A signed CD, and an acknowledgement in the booklet.

£100 or more

1 of 5 claimed

Recording session attendance - half day

Invitation to a half day at the recording sessions (scheduled to take place in East Sussex during the week of 8th March 2021).

£200 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Recording session attendance - full day

Invitation to a full day at the recording sessions (scheduled to take place in East Sussex during the week of 8th March 2021).

£400 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Recording session attendance - two days

Invitation to two days at the recording sessions (scheduled to take place in East Sussex during the week of 8th March 2021).

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