Do Half-Angels Play the Harp Guitar,
Where Does Muriel Anderson Hide Her Wings?
[Review of Muriel Anderson concert, August 4, 2013, Mooresville, N.C.]
by Dane Hartgrove
Muriel Anderson is a diminutive master guitarist whose repertoire includes many songs
played on the harp guitar, an instrument that was moderately popular before World War I but has since gone the way of the flugelhorn. Harp guitars have additional strings in both bass and upper registers, more than 20 in all. In the hands of an artiste like Ms. Anderson, who has added her own tuning method, the end result is a fuller sound than that of a guitar. Among the songs played on harp guitar in this concert were the ethereal “View from Space” (dedicated to an astronaut who took Ms. Anderson’s Heartstrings album to the International Space Station), plus covers of “Starry Night” and “Vincent.” If angels play harps, wouldn’t playing a harp guitar the way she does make Muriel Anderson at least a half-angel?
The concert apparently came about in part because Ms. Anderson was an instructor at
this year’s Swannanoa Gathering, which took place during the previous week, and drew her to our area. How could anyone who plays the guitar not want to take instruction from someone whose abilities with that instrument make her the equivalent of a guru? This reviewer had the good fortune to sit not more than ten feet from the performer, and literally could not take his eyes off her flying fingers. The music she brought out of both guitar and harp guitar was incredible, and lends credence to my only slightly tongue-in-cheek contention that Muriel Anderson is at least a half-angel.
Some of the songs that stood out were the old favorite “Nola,” the Japanese-based
“Sakura” for which Ms. Anderson made her guitar sound like an Oriental instrument, “Fantasia de Fuego” with its classical guitar influences, the fine “Lady Pamela,” and a tribute to a departed musician titled “Bells for Marcel.” There was much, much more, but why read about it when you can look up Muriel Anderson online and listen to clips of her work for yourself! As for me, I’m looking forward to her next concert in our area. Hey, there’s at least half a chance she can fly in for it all by herself!