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Harp Group To Play At Saddleback

March 13, 1987|CHRIS PASLES | Times Staff Writer

One harp was never enough for Aristid von Wuertzler, so he formed a four-member harp ensemble in 1970.

"I had a solo career, but I like the big sound," Wuertzler said in a recent phone interview from New York. "With four harps you can do brilliant things and express everything."

Wuertzler will bring his group, the New York Harp Ensemble, to Saddleback College in Mission Viejo on Saturday.

The 8 p.m. program will include works by Vivaldi, Pachabel, Albrechtsberger (one of Beethoven's teachers), Albeniz and Saint-Saens, plus several of Wuertzler's own compositions.

"Generally, I make transcriptions that are absolutely faithful to the original," Wuertzler said. "Sometimes it is a little difficult to express chromaticism because (the harp) is a diatonic instrument. But with four harps, you can do anything."

Wuertzler said the group's repertory spans the Baroque era and the present and numbers nearly 200 pieces, "including original works dedicated to us from 17 countries."

The ensemble consists of four women, ages 27 to 45, who were private students with Wuertzler but who also have advanced degrees. Two are original members of the ensemble.

Wuertzler, who prefers not to give his age, was born in Hungary, studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest and later received a doctor of music degree from London College in England. He also studied with composer Zoltan Kodaly.

He came to this country in 1956, after the revolt in Hungary that year. He teaches at New York University and at the Queens College of the City University of New York, where the group is in residence.

The harp ensemble has toured worldwide and has performed at the White House twice: in 1980 for the Carters and in 1983 for the Reagans.

"I always had a vision of making the harp a serious concert instrument," Wuertzler said. But he had to contend, he said, with "television (which) has poisoned people's point of view."

"Everybody now wants to see an attraction. They will look at a Horowitz (in a recital televised) from Moscow, but otherwise you very seldom see one artist on television. So this is a chamber group, and I call my group a classical attraction."

More Harp:

- DeWayne Fulton will perform classical, popular and folk music as part of a solo harp recital at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton. The concert is part of the North Orange County Community Concert Assn. series.

Fulton, who has been a member of the Berlin Philharmonic and the San Francisco and Honolulu symphonies, performs on three harps--a concert grand, a grand with electronic sound modification and an Irish folk harp.

- Marielle Nordman will appear as soloist with flutist-conductor Jean-Pierre Rampal and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp, K. 299, at 8 p.m. Monday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa.

The concert is sponsored by the Orange County Philharmonic Society and also will include music by Haydn, Handel, Vivaldi and Cimarosa, with Rampal in dual roles of soloist and conductor.

Performing Arts Center Events:

- John Alexander will lead the 140-member Pacific Chorale and the Pacific Symphony in works by Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The program will include Rachmaninoff's "Vespers," also known as the "All Night Vigil," which is set to texts from Russian Orthodox church services; Stravinsky's "Les Noces," which depicts a Russian peasant wedding, and his "A Symphony of Psalms," written for the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony, which expresses Stravinsky's deep religious faith.

Soloists will include soprano Alison England, mezzo-soprano Janet Smith, tenor William Smith and bass Dennis Houser.

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