At the end of choir class at Utrecht Conservatory (also known as Utrecht Conservatorium), our teacher Rob Vermeulen would check for attendance. There were two Marias, or rather, two Russian harpists both named Maria. I learned to play the harp from Maria Goudimov, who now lives in Germany. I wrote for the harp as a result of my five month study. The other Maria, whom our teacher called “Maria with the long last name,” performed my compositions that included the harp.
Whenever I e-mailed the 40 musicians in my final exam composition concert for rehearsal schedules, I would always get one e-mail bounced back. For some unknown reason, I could never spell Maria’s long last name properly. The “d” and the “z” were mixed up. I never attempted to pronounce her name either, for fear of making a fool of myself as my choir teacher probably also reasoned.
Apparently “Pozdnyakova” is not an unusual name in Russia, but her enthusiasm for the harp is. She loves to share her music with others. She loves to try new pieces. For that reason, she played in nearly all my composition concerts in 2007 and 2008. And for the same reason, I invited Maria to perform in a midsummer afternoon tea concert in our Monument House. She played three beautiful harp solos on the concert harp in a programme with other classmates of mine.
I am pleased to invite my friends, colleagues, and contacts to hear Maria Pozdnyakova in a house concert this Sunday 13 December 2009 from 16:30. She proposed the idea back in early October at the “spillover” or “extra” house concert of Capetown classical guitarist Derek Gripper, when she experienced the excellent acoustics of this “herenhuis.” It took a few months before Merrenna the host and I had time to get together with her to discuss how to fit it into our busy schedules.
As I write this, we already have about two dozen pre-paid bookings for this house concert. But we’re still accepting new reservations to make it a cozy event, in that old Russian tradition of spiced wine and other warm drinks to fuel these chilly, grey days of winter. After the sun sets, as it approaches the shortest day of the year, we will hear and perhaps even feel the gut strings of the concert harp, plucked, strummed, and arpeggiated in Merrenna’s 100-year old row house of wooden floors and high ceilings. As a special treat, there will be four different kinds of home baked treats: profiteroles with fresh cream, two kinds of sweet breads, and a special chocolate cake that makes you feel naughty when you eat it.
Scroll to the right to 2:41 to see and hear Maria Pozdnakova play the harp outdoors, until 3:00
More information: Monument House Concert Series presents an afternoon of Russian harp
Sunday 13 December 2009 from 16:30