World renowned harpist also chairs Music Department at MSJC
■ Dennis Fletcher / Contributed
The Diamond Valley Arts Council (DVAC) provided a rare and stunning glimpse of the genius of Dr. Vanessa Sheldon’s mastery of the harp on a Sunday performance.
On Nov. 3, for one performance only, concert harpist Dr. Sheldon delivered a broad selection of music intended to show the versatility of the harp and prove its broad appeal to a general audience. The operation was a total success.
The harp occupies a position unique in the history of music. It is the oldest known instrument, having existed in one form or another, in every land and every age. The earliest archaeological evidence of harps appeared in Ancient Egypt in 2500 B.C.
The playbill included classical works for harp along with original arrangements of popular and jazz music pieces. Some arrangements were developed by Dr. Sheldon.
The first part of the program consisted of these pieces:
• Fantasie by Louis Spohr (1784 – 1859)
• Alegro Moderato from Concerto for Harp by G.F. Handel (1685 – 1759)
• “Flower Duet” from Lakme by Leo Delibes (1836 – 1891)
• In the Mood by Joe Garland (1903 – 1977) *
• A Breeze from Alabama by Scott Joplin (1868 – 1917) *
• “Cantina Band Song” from Star Wars by John Williams (b. 1932) arr. By Carrol McLaughlin (1952 – 2018)
• Asturias (Leyenda) from Suite Espanola by Isaac Albeniz (1860 – 1909) *
• After the intermission, the lucky listeners were treated to five more pieces:
• Harpin’ on a Harp by Robert Maxwell (1921 – 2012)
• Theme from “The Pink Panther” by Henry Mancini (1924 – 1994) *
• Dream On by Steven Tyler (b. 1948)/Aerosmith *
• Sonetto 104 del Petrarca by Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886) *
• Variations on a Theme of Paganini by Mikhail Mchedelov (1903 – 1974)
• *denotes arranged by Dr. Sheldon
Asturias, named simply Leyenda (meaning legend) by its composer and pianist Isaac Abbeniz, is a piece lasting about six minutes and written originally for the piano. It debuted in Barcelona in 1892. The music is reminiscent of Andalusia with its flamenco traditions. The piece has been translated for guitar (most notably by Andre Segovia), becoming a popular Spanish guitar piece featuring intricate melodies and abrupt changes.
Dr. Sheldon serves as Chair of the MSJC Music Department on the San Jacinto Campus. She toured Europe this past summer where she presented a recital at the Cathedral in Cercedilla, Spain. More about Dr. Sheldon and samples of her music can be found on her website at www.gold2ivory.com.
The calendar of upcoming events at MSJC can be found at https://calendar.msjc.edu.
The event was held at The Diamond Valley Arts Center, 123 North Harvard Street, Hemet. (951) 652-3822. Visit their website at www.thedvac.org