Straight from the Harp
Barbra Bailey Bradley began piano instruction at age 5, and has been a professional musician forever - touring as a supporting artist for various singers and instrumentalists, adjudicating music festivals, concertizing, and teaching. She studied harp in Graduate School at Indiana University, and then had a hiatus before coming back to it full force. Now she freelances on both harp and piano in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia - including playing harp as one of the regulars at Ireland's Four Courts in Arlington, Virginia; being part of the Olde Tyme Christmas at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; and teaching harp and piano at the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC. She recorded her CD of her own harp arrangements - 'Straight from the Harp' - in August 2004, and published two books of harp solos, duos, and trios with fellow harpist Mimi McNeel in July 2005. Together she and Mimi are McBrad Publishing. She performs with the Heatherwood Harp Ensemble, and has created several well-received arrangements for their concerts. In addition to her arrangements of traditional music, she enjoys taking keyboard music from the Baroque and Classic periods and making it harp friendly. Barbra Bailey Bradley's CD, 'Straight from the Harp', is a relaxing blend of Baroque and Classic keyboard music and traditional tunes, arranged for harp. The 'Three Baroque Dances' [Musette, Musette, Minuet] come from the era of J.S. Bach. Many beginning pianists have studied them. Barbra has arranged the dances for solo harp. The Minuet utilizes the Baroque style of adding ornamentation to each repeated section. 'Huron Carol' is known to many Canadians as the way the Jesuits taught the Christmas story to the Huron peoples of northern Ontario. Barbra made the arrangement for, and dedicated it to the Heatherwood Harp Ensemble. All three parts are performed by Barbra herself on the recording 'Slane/Nettleton' is a medley of two beloved hymn tunes. Many listeners will recognize Slane as Be Thou My Vision, and Nettleton as Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. This arrangement for solo harp was begun soon after 9/11, and was dedicated to Barbra's husband, Joseph, for his birthday in November 2001. 'She's Like the Swallow/I'se the Bye' are two folk songs from Newfoundland, first heard by Barbra during undergraduate studies at the University of Western Ontario. This arrangement is for two harps, and Barbra plays both parts on the recording. 'Lakes of Pontchartrain' is a southern American folk song. Barbra first heard Pamela Bruner sing it at the Somerset Folk Harp Festival, fell in love with it, and made this arrangement for solo harp. It has become her signature piece. 'Sonatina in C' by Muzio Clementi [Allegro, Andante, Vivace]is another piece played by many beginning pianists. Barbra has arranged it for solo harp, and has given it a more relaxed feel. Cuts from the CD have been played on KRVS ['Harpestry' hosted by Valerie Green] and WETA [Mary Cliff's 'Traditions'.] Since it's coming onto the market, Barbra's CD has received kudos from many satisfied customers. Gerry Serviente, Founder and Director of the Somerset Folk Harp Festival, says simply, 'Love your CD!' This is echoed in the words of piano technician from Baltimore, Dale Smith, who wrote: 'I thoroughly enjoyed your harp music CD. I was especially fond of the hymns, which started off with one of my favorites, Be Thou My Vision. Congratulations on a fine recording!' A good friend described the music as 'soft, soothing, precise, familiar, and beautiful!' Another said that it should be marketed for meditation purposes, because it was 'better than a lot of others out there.'. Still another said: 'I keep it in my car for soothing effect. I LOVE it.' He is ordering 2 more copies for his sisters who are Massage Therapists. A Massage Therapist in my area uses it in his sessions, with rave reviews. A local physician played it in her waiting room with the result that one of her patients requested a copy. The list goes on . . . .