“Sonata For Harp” by Friedrich Benda
Edited by Samuel O. Pratt
For Pedal Harp
Intermediate / Advanced / 17 Pages
-“Sonata For Harp”
Copyright 1965 by CHARLES COLIN
Sonata For Harp Friedrich Benda was born in 1745 in Potsdam and died there in 1814. His contemporaries included Haydn and Mozart, and such harpist composers as Mayer, Dussek, Naderman, Dalvimar, and Krumpholz. This sonata would have been preformed on the single action harp, as well as other keyboard instruments as the performers might choose. The single action pedal harp invented in about 1735 would have been well- established by the time Benda wrote this delightful work. The tempo and felling of this sonata must be light and quick. The genuinely harpistic character of the first movement should be icy and glistening. About rubato except in the recitativo passages, which were the forerunners of our modern cadenzas. These recitatives, by the way, are very much in the style of the oratorio recitative, and should be played as if they were being freely sung. Their effect is charming. The indicated fingering may seem at first reading to be somewhat unorthodox, and indeed does take full advantage of the harpist s ability to cross over the 2nd and 3rd finger as easily as the thumb. The player will find that the fingering in this sonata provides an excellent basis and example of our School of Logical Fingering, and if well learned and followed, astonishing speed and facility will be obtained. Similar passages are usually fingered only the first time. Nothing, especially fingering, can be absolute. Therefore, the player is encouraged to first learn the fingering as indicated and then, after he can play is as shown with fair facility, he may then find other fingering better suited to himself. The most obvious or easiest fingering at first may not be the best.