A golden age of the harp occurred in France in the second half of the eighteenth century, spurred by Queen Marie-Antoinette’s passion for the instrument. Numerous pieces for two harps or for harp and harpsichord were published.
The musical languages of the two instruments have many common points. Jean Baur was the first composer to truly differentiate between the harp and the keyboard in the same score. His work calls for numerous arpeggios in the harp part, and for more scales and ornaments in the harpsichord part.
Another famous harpist, Philippe-Joseph Hinner, Marie-Antoinette’s teacher, composed and played numerous duos with his illustrious student.
Jean-Baptiste Krumpholz, the best-known harp virtuoso of his time, wrote duos for two harps as well as fashionable sonatas for solo harp. The greatest pianists often arranged the latter for harp and keyboard.
The harps used for this repertoire have pedals and a single action mechanism. Key changes are made with a crotchet system on the earliest harps, and with a forked disk mechanism on Erard harps.
Sonata for harp and fortepiano in B-flat major
Allegro, Menuet, Allegro
Adagio in F major (fortepiano)
Variations on « Vous l’ordonnez – ou Je suis Lindor» (harp)
Philippe Joseph Hinner
Sonata for harp and fortepiano in E-flat major
Allegro, Rondo Allegretto
Sonata for harp and fortepiano in C major
Allegretto, Andante, Scherzo
Sonatas K 77 Moderato e Cantabile and K 85 Allegro (harp)
Adagio and Allegretto in G major (fortepiano)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
« Mozart’s admired overture to Zauberflote, newly arranged as a duet for Harp and Piano Forte » Published by L. Lee 17, Old Bond Street