The harp in Improv Land
Anne LeBaron
Anne LeBaron
Chris Heenan
Earl Howard
Georg Graewe
John Lindberg
Kanoko Nishi
Kiku Day
Kristin Haraldsdottir
Leroy Jenkins
Nathan Smith
Paul Rutherford
Ronit Kirchman
Torsten Mueller
Wolfgang Fuchs
Catalog Number: 

Valencia, CA

Release Date: 
Sep 28, 2010
Liner Notes: 
2 CD
Anne Lebaron: 1,2,4,3iTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Heat Wave 104:33$0.99
2.Succulent Blues10:05
3.Rippling with Leroy08:14$0.99
6.Principles of the Rhizome03:56$0.99
7.Make a Map, Not a Tracing05:39$0.99
8.Heat Wave 203:37$0.99
12.Sukkulaoi Scream03:19$0.99
13.Into Something Rich and Strange02:46$0.99
14.Submerged Cavern02:45$0.99
15.Song of Marble05:06$0.99
16.Funeral Bells for Harry Partch05:59$0.99
17.Full Fathom Funayurei04:20$0.99
18.Lagniappe: Hourglass of Stars04:42$0.99
One Sheet: 

Anne LeBaron's harp is not your grandmother's harp. Probably. 

"In the early 1970's I began improvising with my first harp, a Wurlitzer with ivory pegs, rescued and restored from its fate as an unstrung object languishing in the corner of an elderly couple's living room. Many of these explorations took place during regular Sunday night sessions in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at the home of LaDonna Smith and Davey Williams. Here, a group of musicians gathered to embark on musical odysseys into uncharted territories. Our models ranged from surrealist concepts and philosophies, to the purism of Derek Bailey, to the gritty blues of Johnny Shines. My exploration of the harp — finding ways to prepare it, to bow the steel-wound wires, and gut and nylon strings, and to slither vertically on the strings, discovering endless microtonal worlds - was stimulated by this proto-environment. Later, living and performing in Europe in the 80's, I made music with 'first-generation' improvising musicians, some of whom are represented on this 2CD set of solos, duets, quartets, and trios: 1,2,4,3." 

The recordings span eight years, four generations of musicians, hailing from seven countries. Most of the tracks are from live performances capturing the spontaneous moments between consummate improvisers getting to know one another and co-composing a time together. All feature LeBaron's sonorous harp playing in myriad guises. 

Anne LeBaron, composer and performer, writes music embracing an exotic array of subjects that encompass vast reaches of space and time, ranging from the mysterious Singing Dune of Kazakhstan, to investigations into physical and cultural forms of extinction, to legendary figures such as Pope Joan, Eurydice, Marie Laveau, and the American Housewife. Widely recognized for her work in instrumental, electronic, and performance realms, she has earned numerous awards and prizes, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Alpert Award in the Arts, a Fulbright Full Fellowship, an award from the Rockefeller MAP Fund for her opera, Sucktion, and a 2009-2010 Cultural Exchange International Grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs for The Silent Steppe Cantata. She teaches composition and related subjects at CalArts. 

This release is part of innova's NEA-funded NYFA Series that celebrates the work of New York Foundation for the Arts Music Composition Fellows.


Anne Lebaron and friends rejoice in this generous selection designed to abjure the harp’s usual territory. The music is variously delicate, bluesy with a hip-slaloming spatter of notes from harp and percussion. Sukkulaoi scream is a thing of shreds, squeaks and tendrils. Later tracks introduce flickering textures and breathily-blown wind instruments. In other tracks the harp eschews luxury and restricts itself to a monotone and wooden tapping noises before surrendering to shivery desiccation.

- Rob Barnett, Music Web International

Anne Le Baron è una gigantessa dell’arpa, musicista attiva dagli anni settanta intenta a esplorare ogni possibile implementazione musicale dello strumento muovendosi su coordinate, da lei esplicitamente dichiarate, che rimandano a nomi tutelari quali l’improvvisatore inglese Derek Bailey e il bluesman Johnny Shines, e sviluppando la ricerca in ambito microtonale, ambient ed elettronico. Ora con questo doppio cd, che racchiude composizioni raccolte nell’arco degli ultimi otto anni, in maggior parte live, sviluppa un suo atlante sonoro, elaborato in collaborazione con musicisti, alcuni dei quali provenienti della scena improvvisativa europea degli anni ’80 frequentata assiduamente dalla musicista, e pescati da varie parti del globo come Austria, Canada, Inghilterra, America. Il motivo trainante è la voglia di suonare insieme, senza prefigurazioni strutturali decise in anticipo, solo la volontà di suonare musica improvvisata secondo la specificità di ogni musicista, componendo in tempo reale, per, questo è l’obbiettivo dichiarato della Baron, permettere l’ascolto e lo studio delle composizioni. La musicista, sviluppando le composizioni con formazioni dal numero variabile, crea manufatti improvvisati di solida consistenza strutturale, complice anche la bravura dei compartecipanti al progetto come Kiku Day, Nathan Smith, il compianto violinista americano Leroy Jenkins e il trombonista inglese Paul Rutherford, e riesce nell’intento di affascinare l’ascoltatore e rivitalizzare la ricerca in ambito musicale senza lasciare vuoti né inutili stralci.

- Marco Paolucci, Kathodik