HENNER EPPEL, flute (Heidelberg)
Henner Eppel received his musical education from 1966 to 1971 at the Musikhochschule Frankfurt am Main with Prof Werner Richter. Obtaining the Konzertexamen he took private lessons with Peter-Lukas Graf in Basle. After an engagement in Würzburg he became principal flautist with the Philharmonisches Orchester Heidelberg. Numerous concert engagements led him as chamber musician and soloist into several European countries, to the USA, Egypt and Japan. Here he played works from all musical periods with emphasis on the romantic period and music of the 20th century.
In 1971 he began teaching: first at the Staatskonservatorium Würzburg, then at the Würzburger Musikhochschule, the Musikhochschule Mannheim/Heidelberg and at the Musikhochschule Frankfurt am Main. Since 1994 Henner Eppel has been a Professor at the Musikhochschule Frankfurt am Main http://www.hfmdk-frankfurt.de where he is responsible for instructing flautists and for the department of didactics and methods of flute-playing.
He also works as an editor at a well-known German music publisher http://www.zimmermann-frankfurt.de where his emphasis is on republication of romantic music for flute and chamber music with flute. Meanwhile he has published more than 50 editions.
Henner Eppel has been able to pass on his great experience as a teacher and player in many seminars.
CHRISTIAN TOPP, harp (Dresden/Mexico)
Christian Topp, born in 1973, received his first harp lessons at the age of nine with I Atwood in Basle. From 1991 to 1993 he took lessons at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik München with Prof Helga Storck. In 1993 he won the competition Jugend musiziert, appeared at the World Harp Congress in Copenhagen and received the Kulturförderpreis of the City of Singen. Immediately after leaving school in 1993 he went to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Prof David Watkins until 1998. During this time he made several recordings for BBC Radio 2 and Radio 3. In 1997 he became a Bachelor of Music and in 1998 received the Concert Recital Diploma. In 2000 he took part in the Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchesterakademie Ingolstadt.
As a soloist Christian Topp has performed harp concertos by Bach, Boieldieu, Debussy, Glière, Handel, Mozart, Vivaldi and Wagenseil.
He has played in several orchestras in South Germany and was principal harpist with the "Orchester des Pfalztheaters Kaiserslautern" and with the "Neue Lausitzer Philharmonie". http://www.theater-goerlitz.de
In June 2005 he became a member of the "State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra". http://www.elportalmexiquense.com/osem
Since 1990 Christian Topp has been playing on a regular basis in a flute and harp combination and, since 2001, with Henner Eppel.
The flute and the harp have been recognised as the well-loved instruments used for celebrations and religious services since the time of Ancient Egypt. Their beautiful and unique sound was not, as many may think, discovered by the French impressionists towards the end of the 19th century! Indeed there are many paintings from the Middle Ages which not only document the existence but also the popularity of these two instruments: the angelic music of the heavens almost always requires them. As the 18th century came to an end the harp was placed alongside the singing sound of the flute, which itself had become the fashionable instrument for sensitive citizens and nobles alike. Neither fortepiano nor harpsichord could produce this unique sound. Moreover, the decorative effect of a beautifully patterned harp should not be underestimated! The private residences of the upper class along with churches, concert halls and opera houses were the most important places for musical performances and played host not only to famous pianists of the time like Chopin or Liszt but also to harpists such as Elias Parish-Alvars (1808-1849) or Félix Godefroid (1818-1897).
As a level of near technical perfection was reached in the construction of both instruments new possibilities for playing arose. Prime examples are the conical flute in the old style and the two Theobald Boehm models from 1832 and 1847. The latter has, to this very day, undergone only minor modification. Above all the double-action harp of Sébastien Erard which received the patent No 3332 in 1810, after years of development, and whose principle still serves as a model for today’s concert harps.
If you glance at guides to chamber music which themselves usually list a 'large' repertoire, you will be astonished to see how rarely the harp appears. The reasons for this are manifold. Besides reasons relating to the very particular sound of the harp it is also true to say that many composers were not familiar with the variety of musical possibilities the harp affords and what potential it possesses. There is hardly any another instrument that one needs to know as intimately as the harp in order to avoid demanding the impossible. For this reason harpists themselves largely composed the music they required for the concerts. Names such as Krumpholtz, Bochsa and Tournier are prime examples; they belonged to the greatest virtuosos of their time.
The collection which is published by GUILD http://www.guildmusic.com/catalog/gui7294z.htm spans from the end of the 18th century to the 20th century. The 'solos' of the 18th century are played with a figured bass tone: this so-called general bass, derived from a form of musical shorthand, was freely played by the right hand of the keyboard instrument player, while the left hand played the notes from the manuscript and was frequently supported by another instrument (viola da gamba, cello or bassoon). One of the musicians should therefore be able to produce chord sounds. The spinet, harpsichord, organ, lute, guitar and piano were the favourites. The necessary chords could, however, also be produced by an experienced harpist.