I am excited to announce that La Comptesse, the beautiful harp owned by renowned early music specialist Douglas Hollick and kindly lent to me, was performed on last Saturday! I don't know whether the last public performance before Saturday, on this 1806 harp, was in the last century or even the one before, but I am happy to be the lucky harpist to reinstate it centre stage!

I performed the Handel Harp Concerto in Bb, edited by G Pasveer from the Netherlands with some beautiful suggestions for ornaments in the second movement (many of which I followed) with the English National Baroque Ensemble, at St. George's, Bristol.

I was a little nervous as I have high expectations of myself and generally do everything within my power to prepare myself to my best ability! An hour and a half before the concert I still had to dash out to buy a rug (I found a beautiful one from 'Chandni Chowk' - definitely special enough to stop La Comptesse from slipping!) and I also had to eat (at a next-door Bristol Thai restaurant that served me an amazing green curry within minutes! and I left my boyfriend to pick up the bill while I rescued the car from a possible encounter with a parking warden!) and tune up for the concert. I even sneaked in about forty minutes practise - amazing!

It all paid off as Nicholas Whiting, the leader, supported me wonderfully and the reviewer, John Packwood, writing for the Evening Post said:

"Handel's Harp Concerto is an exquisite composition and with the charming Eleanor Turner as soloist this was a performance that held the large audience spellbound with her brilliant playing.

Eleanor cleverly obtained the softer moments with skilful use of the pedals. ....this is referring to the one pedal that opens and shuts the shutters at the back of the harp....I only used it twice ;) (ET)

The Larghetto was suitably haunting before the finale showed some nimble finger work. Her performance, with its thoughtful details of timing, put the structure of the music across strongly. This was an exciting occasion which received an enthusiastic response."

I am so proud to have performed on La Comptesse at last, so grateful to Douglas Hollick for the loan and use of the instrument, perfectly suited to this and so many other special concerts, and to the Ensemble! It was lovely to be reunited with old friends Mike Wilshaw (double bass) and Francis on continuo!

See you soon,

Highly Strung and....La Comptesse xx