I fell in love with the combination of classical guitar and harp when I wrote a CG story five years ago about the wonderful album collaboration of Jason Vieaux and Yolanda Kondonassis called Together (on the Azica label). Ever since, I have privately pined away over the disappointing paucity of other guitar-harp duos. But then what should pop up in my email recently but two exquisite video performances by the more recent pairing of Colin Davin and Emily Levin (aka the Davin–Levin Duo). The musical styles in these two selections are quite different from each other, but both are suited beautifully to this combination of instruments: Maurice Ravel‘s magical Les Entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête (Conversations between Beauty and The Beast) from his 1910 piano-duet suite Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose); and Philip Glass‘ propulsive and characteristically hypnotic Etude No. 6, a solo piano work from his 1994–95 collection Etudes for Piano, Volume 1.
Davin is probably known to many of you. A protégé of Sharon Isbin at the Juilliard School, he has performed internationally and played in numerous musical configurations, and currently teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he co-heads the Guitar Department with Jason Vieaux. (Hmm…You don’t suppose that influenced Colin to form a guitar-harp duo, do you?) We have previously featured him in this space in a solo performance of a movement from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 6, and playing Rodrigo’s Aranjuez, Ma Pensée in a duet with Isbin. (Here’s an excellent, informative interview with him from the good folks at Six String Journal).
Emily Levin is the principal harpist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and also has performed as a soloist and with major symphonies around the world.
It’s quite an accomplished duo! Their new album, called Banter, has just been released and is available here (and no doubt other places in the future). —Blair Jackson