Tell me Daphne — fairies in baroque and romantic music

Echokamer 20: Purcell, Gibbons, Farnaby, Philips, Godefroid and Renié

18 Jun 2014

A two part musical recital by harpists Victoria Davies and Maximilian Ehrhardt that pays homage to the history and importance of the fairy theme in classical music between the seventeenth to late nineteenth centuries.


Fairy harp -

The Harp

In Ancient times, the harp as an instrument, represented the idea of lightness, transparency and the supernatural.
Apollo, the Greek god of music and the arts, was carrying a lyre, an ancient type of harp, to emphasize his creativity and beauty. In the Old Testament David calmed down the furious King Saul with the soothing sound of the harp. And it was said that Orpheus, the great singer, could make stones cry, so beautifully was his song that he accompanied by his lyre.

Tell me Daphne

Tell me Daphne is a musical recital consisting of two parts, leading the listener through two different moments of time in musical history. Played by Maximilian Ehrhardt and Victoria Davies.

In the first 'act' of Tell me Daphne, Maximilian will play music by English virginalist composers of the early seventeenth century such as Peter Philips and Giles Farnaby during the first part of the performance. This music, performed on a copy of a harp from the same time, is based on stories of nymphs from Ancient Greece and Rome, the tales of Daphne being chased by Apollo, Tirsi and his fairy lover. In this music the subtle yet highly erotic energy of the poetry of the time becomes emphasized by complex polyphonic music.

In the second act of the evening Victoria Davies will perform late Romantic original compositions for the harp by Henriette Renié and Felix Godefroid based on fairytales. In this music, these creatures are not always the friendly helpless beauties hiding in the forest, they also represent the desire of the late nineteenth century for darkness and melancholy. But at the same time this music clearly uses the harp and it’s translucent sound to showcase the idea of brilliance and lightness.


Maximilian Ehrhardt ­ arpa doppia:

Giles Farnaby (c. 1563-1640) - Tell me Daphne

Peter Philips (1560-1628) - Tirsi di Luca Marenzio intavolata di Pietro Philippi
- I Tirsi morir volea
- II Frenò Tirsi il desio
- III Così moriro

Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625) - Mask: The Fairest Nymph

Henry Purcell (1659 -1695) - Suite No 7 in d minor (Z. 668)
Almand ­ Corant ­ Hornpipe

Giles Farnaby - Daphne


Victoria Davies ­ harp:

Félix Godefroid (1818-1897) - La Danse des Sylphes

Henriette Renié (1875-1956) - Légende
- Danse des Lutins

Maximilian Ehrhardt

Maximilian Ehrhardt was born in Tettnang (Germany). After preliminary education as a young talent at the “Landeskonservatorium für Vorarlberg” (Austria) and the “Konservatorium der Stadt Zürich”, he studied the harp with Erika Waardenburg at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam from where he graduated in 2009 with the Master's Degree with distinctions. Since 2008 he is a student of Mara Galassi at the “Accademia Internazionale della Musica di Milano” in the class of historical harp, where he graduated in 2012 with the highest grades and is currently finishing the Master's Programme.

Maximilian is regularly performing in solo recitals, with baroque orchestras and chamber music ensembles all over Europe. He has worked with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, the Gürzenich­ Orchester of the Cologne Opera, the Orchestra of the Fynske Opera (Denmark) and the opera in Wuppertal. His performances include collaborations with the early music ensembles L’Arpa Festante, Ensemble Schirokko and Ensemble Polyharmonique. He has been working with conductors such as Sylvain Cambreling, Reinbert de Leeuw, Lorenzo Ghielmi, Gabriel Garrido and Glen Wilson.

Maximilian played concerts in the Early Music Festivals of Berlin, Ambronay, Utrecht and the MITO Settembre Musica in Milan. In 2013 he was chosen to perform the harp solo in Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” during the European tour of the 20th Baroque Academy at Ambronay under the direction of Leonardo García Alarcón. Together with his ensemble L’Aura Rilucente he was chosen as one of the winners of the International Young Artists Presentation in Antwerp, as young promising ensemble by the REMA (Marseille) and were granted one of the prolific ensemble residencies in Ambronay.

Maximilian is recording with the Chamber Choir of Namur, Artemandolino and the Ensemble L’Armonia degli Affetti. Being a researcher for the ‘forgotten’ repertoire for the harp, he is currently preparing an edition of yet unpublished 18th century manuscripts.


Maximilian Ehrhardt - Maximilian Ehrhardt

Victoria Davies

Victoria Davies studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Skaila Kanga. She was winner of the London Harp Competition in 1999 and 2001, and in 2000 was Principal Harp of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, playing in concert halls throughout the UK and abroad and at a reception given by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Victoria has worked extensively with the Cathedral Choir of Christ Church, Oxford, with whom she has made three recordings. She appeared with the choir in ‘Britten’s Children’, a BBC 2 documentary about Benjamin Britten’s music for boys’ voices.

As soloist, she has performed live on BBC Radio. From January 2006­ July 2007 Victoria was resident harp teacher at the Tamnak Prathom Harp School in Bangkok, Thailand, where she gave solo and chamber performances, and played with the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and Opera. Since 2008, Victoria has been living in the Netherlands, where she gained her Masters’ diploma at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, studying under the renowned harp teacher Erika Waardenburg, in 2010.

She has performed as soloist with Vocaal Talent Nederland, premiered a commissioned work at the November Music Festival, performed with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta and the Bach Choir of the Netherlands, and at the BBC Proms and the Opera Comique, Paris, with the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardner. Her ensemble, Trio Concordia, performs regularly at concert venues across the Netherlands, and has been featured on the programme “Opium op 4” on Radio 4.


Image of Victoria Davies playing the harp - "Solo harpist Victoria Davies gave a sensitive performance [of the Ginastera harp concerto] and shone particularly in the central slow movement and the striking cadenza that follows it." — Shelagh Goodwin

More information

Free entrance for Club Mediamatic members. Mediamatic, VOC-kade 10, Oostenburg Amsterdam. Open from Wednesday - Sunday from 13:00 - 18:00.