Helen Webby – New Zealand Music Month

Helen Webby in performanceA full-sized harp is a thing to behold . Its size dwarves the human player and (get this ‘air guitarists’) the expanse of its strings requires the player to manoeuvre to reach the lower notes. Its profile is like the prow of an elegant sailing ship. But what exquisite sounds it can produce!

In the hands of the highly talented and internationally acclaimed Helen Webby it is truly enchanting and magical. Last night Fendalton Library hosted the first of Helen’s recitals for Christchurch City Libraries New Zealand Music Month line up of entertainment.

Her choice of programme ranged widely from a movement from the famous Harp Concerto by Handel, to Fields of Gold by Sting, a few Irish Hornpipes, Jigs and Reels and a couple of pieces she commissioned from New Zealand composers Rachel Clement and Helen Bowater.

Perhaps the most famous and familiar piece, the brief solo for harp from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, was mesmerising. Helen mentioned that hearing this piece on her parents’ record player at the age of 11 inspired her to learn to play the harp. Since then she has gone on to play for the Christchurch Symphony and NZSO, played in chamber music ensembles here and in Europe and has a very successful solo career.

On thanking her for yet again being a part of the Libraries’ Music Month entertainment she said that libraries were one of her favourite places to perform. This certainly comes out in the warmth with which she talks to her audience both during the recital and afterwards.  She performs again in our libraries during May and if you have kids to bring along it will put smiles on their dials!

2 thoughts on “Helen Webby – New Zealand Music Month

  1. Laraine 5 May 2010 / 4:19 pm

    My favourite harpist is Andrew Lawrence-King (all sorts of old harps, including the fascinating Irish harp). On the modern harp, I think Nancy Allen is hard to beat. I have only one CD by her, A Celebration for Harp. It’s a firm favourite.

  2. Nicole 6 May 2010 / 8:00 pm

    Recently, I happened to meet a young girl who is a student of Helen’s. They were really happy to have found someone who could teach ‘the dream’. She also played at a party at New Brighton library last year. It was, as always, great to have live music and Helen is fun and down-to-earth.

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