Dance Suite in F
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Reviewed by Frank Voltz, Sunita Staneslow, Alice Freeman and Margaret Sneddon.
Voltz: You are entering the courts of Marie Antoinette. Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher has written a delightful suite of Baroque dances called “Dance Suite in F.” Dances include Allemande in 4/4, Courante in 6/4, Sarabande in 3/4, and Gigue in 6/8. Although each piece is written in the key of F, lever and pedal changes are clearly marked and each piece has a few accidentals. Diamond shaped notes are used to indicate lever changes. Each dance possesses a charming quality and emulates its own style of the period. The suite can be played from beginning to end without interruption, that is, pedal and lever changes are indicated at the end of each dance so you are ready to start the next dance. Each dance is two pages and page turns are only required if playing the entire suite. This suite is perfect for wedding prelude and receptions, and provides elegant background music for any occasion.
Staneslow: This charming collection of dances is perfect to play for any occasion. Professional harpists will be able to sightread them for any event that requires beauty and elegance. Each dance is two pages so there are no page turns in the middle of a dance. Advanced beginners through intermediate players on either the lever or pedal harp will enjoy learning these original tunes composed in the style of Renaissance and Baroque dances. I was drawn to the sense of line in the left hand and enjoyed the harmonics. There is pulse and harmony without any heavy chords. The music is clear and easy to read. There are tempo markings, dynamics, fingerings and lever and pedal changes notated in the music. It would be easy to add cello in place of the left hand or add a melody instrument and have the harp take the rest. I’m adding these to my gig book!
Sneddon: As I played through the Allemande, the first of the pieces in Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher’s new “Dance Suite in F”, I thought, “What a perfect wedding processional!” Stately and elegant, it would be ideal for that purpose and so much more. This charming collection of dance style pieces is very playable, as Darhon’s arrangements always are, and, at the same time, full of variety and color. Varied in style, mood, and tempo they will be a wonderful addition to the repertoire of any harpist. I can’t wait to play them for an upcoming Solstice celebration!
Freeman: Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher’s new publication, “Dance Suite in F” is an elegant collection of pieces that can be played together or separately. Her lever and pedal changes are clearly indicated and always marked in appropriate places in the music. Written for an intermediate-level player, the pieces include a nice variety of stylistic techniques like harmonics, étouffez (muffling each string with the left hand before playing the next note) and some effective syncopation in the Gigue. Her characteristic 10th intervals in the left hand lead me to think her hands are bigger than mine, but I always enjoy playing her arrangements. This is a nice addition to any collection of Baroque dances.