Ballade after “The Tell-tale Heart” of Edgar Allan Poe is a 19-page virtuosic harp solo for pedal harp. After reading Mme. Renie’s biography below you might want to start with her method book and work your way up to this solo!
(1875-1956) a French harpist and composer, led a very interesting life. A child prodigy she won the Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatoire at age 12, which is when she graduated. She began teaching the harp at the age of 9. Her first teacher was Alphonse Hassemans. Their relationship was at times not friendly. She was a marvelous composer, yet felt uncomfortable at times about her talent because of her gender. She also had serious digestive and neurologicas conditions which made it difficult to perform at times, nevertheless she played many concerts.
Among her students were Marcel Grandjany, Mildred Dilling, Harpo Marx, Susan McDonald and Odette LeDentu. She was turned down for two significant positions because of her religious belief (I think she was more politically public than anything and was against the Nazi invasion and tore down German propaganda posters). She concentrated on her method book, which was popularized in the US by Grandjany and Dilling.
In 1926 she began recording for Columbia very successfully, but she was not well and couldn’t keep up the pace.
MMe Renie was not a well person, nor was she rich, yet she supported many friends and relatives financially and otherwise, including her brothers who were in the army for the honor of it. She worked constantly and paid for her own harp. She turned down boyfriends and opportunities for marriage to focus on her art.
She published many works with major French publishers which have been mainstays of the harp repertoire for harpists of her lineage. Additional works remain in manuscript, but many were destroyed in a fire in the collector’s home.
Hear a portion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1MKOOsocJ0