Film about a harp virtuoso
“The harp is my life”, says Xavier de Maistre.
During a live performance of Haydn’s Concert in D-major Hob XVIII:11, filmed in the beautiful location of the castle of Esterhazy in Austria, we see his incredible intensity and unique interpretation. He performs a few short pieces and talks about the way he plays the harp. Most people believe the harp is an instrument only played by women. They think of girls with long hair and beautiful dresses caressing the strings. Xavier de Maistre, one of the few male harpists worldwide, gives the harp a complete new image.
He is an exceptional artist. Born in Toulon, he begins to play the harp at the age of nine and studies at the conservatories of Toulon and Paris. He also studies political sciences at the famous “Institut Sciences Politiques” (Science-po) in Paris and at the “London School of Economics”. His parents, being very conservative, wish him to do so. He soon decides he really belongs on the stage.
He says: “The harp is my instrument”.
At the age of 16 he wins his first competition and many more are to follow. In 1999, at the age of just 24, Lorin Maazel invites him to Munich and he becomes solo harpist of the Vienna Philharmonic and the first Frenchman ever to be invited to this orchestra. As a soloist Xavier de Maistre performs in most of the famous concert halls all over the world: Wigmore Hall (London), Lincoln Center (N.Y.C.), Philharmonie (Berlin), Salle Gaveau (Paris), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), and Vienna. He also tours China and Japan where he has a lot of success too. In this film about de Maistre we see him perform the concert in D-major Hob.XVIII:11 by Haydn in the impressive Esterhazy Castle in Austria together with the RSO (Radio Symphonie Orchester des ORF) conducted by Bertrand de Billy. This concert was originally composed for the cembalo, but in 1779 the London editor John Bland adapted it for the harp. This adaptation actually suits the harp perfectly and creates a completely new view on this piece. It allows for colors and contrasts which are not possible to display on a cembalo. De Maistre is the first harpist brave enough to perform this piece. There is no previous recording of the piece. The DVD features a.o. the solo piece Marcel Grandjany`s “Fantaisie”, pieces by Debussy as well as interviews with Xavier de Maistre.
Cast & Crew
- Hanne Kaisik