A quick reminder from Belgium that the closing date for the sixth Félix Godefroid International Competition is fast approaching (October 5th). The competition has long been a fixture in the world harp calendar and offers a great chance, with a generous age limit of thirty-five, to compete at international level in four categories. All details for how to apply are on the competition website.
It is also a chance to get your teeth into the works of Godefroid, and indeed many from the remarkably distinguished roll-call of harp composers who come from Wallonia. What harpists have on their music stands is heavily influenced by big competition programmes, and it so happens that there's not so much Godefroid around right now - but this is a pity. Félix Godefroid was a highly feted virtuoso: praised as far afield as Russia and the Middle East, while Hector Berlioz remarked that "The talent of Mr. Godefroid is comparable to Parish Alvars's, the king of harpists; there is nothing exaggerated in this appreciation. Mr Godefroid, an absolute master of his instrument, has nothing to fear from any comparison." Sophie Hallynck, the Concours Godefroid's artistic director, also highlights the fantastic amount of little-known études and study material left behind by Félix (despite him not being a profilic teacher himself).
In Southern California, Celia Chan Valerio and Dominique Piana have also collaborated to raise the profile of both Godefroid brothers, Félix and Jules. Jules was actually even more popular than Félix in his day, although it is the more lyrical quality of Félix's compositions that has better stood the test of time. If you're interested in finding out more, Dr Valerio's PhD thesis on the two brothers includes a useful catalogue quoting the first theme of each work, and ratings on a clearly defined scale of difficulty. She also notes where particular technical issues occur, such as multiple thumb slides. To complement this, Dominique has recently published a large number of their works.