Mr. Natra writes:

I was asked to write a few lines for the American Harp Journal about the circumstances in which I began to write for the harp and the facts contributing to the utilization of the instrument in my works. 

In my childhood I never heard a harp recital but as a music student I remember vividly hearing harps for the first time during a rehearsal when Enesco conducted the Philharmonic in a rending of the Debussy Nocturnes. I was impressed with the way that the harps enhanced the sound of the other instruments. 

In 1948 I was commissioned to write a score for a documentary film on the swamps of the Pruth River and felt that was the opportune time to make use of the harp in orchestration. The two treaties in my possession, the Berlioz-Strauss and the Widor, proved to be sufficient for my handling of the instrument. 

In 1959 I was asked to write a work for harp and violin and thought this would be an ideal time to study the harp technique more profoundly (the one everybody was telling gruesome stories about). My aim was to find the harmonic language allowing a relative tranquillity in changing pedals because I was embarrassed by the way a very rapid change would hinder the flow of the performance. 

In 1964 I was invited to participate in a contest for the required piece of the International Harp Cornpet in Israel. My intention was to write something that would express the joy and euphoria of plucking on strings, some what like the impression I get when seeing musicians play on little harps or cembalum.

The Sonatina brought me in contact with the Harp Competitions in Jerusalem, and it was a pleasure to meet and work with some of the most brilliant harpist-musicians in the world. Hearing their opinions and discussions was a very rewarding experience for me. I'd like to state that I have found harp players to be among the most enthusiastic readers of new works. 

 S. Natra, January 1977 

Thank you, Sergiu Natra and may I say that harpists treasure you as one of our very best friends!

by Pearl Chertok