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Debussy and Caplet, devoted friends and colleagues, are reunited once again just as they were in 1907 Paris...
Debussy and Caplet, devoted friends and colleagues, are reunited once again just as they were in 1907 Paris...
105 backers pledged $19,070 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

"Les Amis," a recording by Elizabeth Hainen project video thumbnail
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Les Amis is a recording based on the friendship of Debussy and Caplet and their influence on the 20th century landscape of the symphonic harp.

André Caplet and Claude Debussy
André Caplet and Claude Debussy

Since making music in the concert halls of Paris, the relationship of Claude Debussy and André Caplet has never been revealed until this exclusive pairing. I have been invited by Conductor Michael Stern to record these brilliant works under his baton with IRIS Orchestra and I need to raise $18,000 to pay the musicians. Your donation is tax-deductible as I'm partnering with my non-profit, The Lyra Society, a 501c3. The recording will take place in February 2013 at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre, which is outside Memphis, TN. This recording will be released by AVIE, the noted label with whom I collaborated on the Parish Alvars/Saint-Saëns/Albrechtsberger CD in 2011. Unlike many larger corporations, AVIE is completely artist-directed and I will have full creative control. My friends Roberto Díaz, concert violist and President of the Curtis Institute of Music and Jeffrey Khaner, Principal Flutist of The Philadelphia Orchestra will join me on Debussy’s Sonate for flute, viola and harp. So I’m pretty excited.

Conductor, Michael Stern
Conductor, Michael Stern

 I first came up with the idea of pairing the compositions of Debussy and Caplet in 2008 while adjudicating at the Lily Laskine International Harp Concours in Paris. While spending time in the Salle Gaveau, a jewel box of a little concert hall built in 1907, I contemplated these two men, devoted friends and colleagues, and how their day-to-day life resembles our current relationships as performing musicians. Going to concerts, museums and cafés, discussing the frustrating rhetoric in politics, comparing premiere status on ocean liners and how to cash in points to claim the upgrade…well, I am digressing. But in all seriousness, their lives are similar to those of most artists today. Both composers were instrumental in utilizing the harp’s idiomatic colors, and subsequently influenced the indelible position of the harp in the 20th-century symphony orchestra. This recording will be the first to pair Caplet with Debussy exclusively. Their relationship is evident in all of these works I will record. Except for one other recording from over 20 years ago, the Caplet Mask of the Red Death has not been showcased in his original conception of full string orchestra and harp.

In the Salle Gaveau, at the Lily Laskine Concour with my student Katie Kapelsohn
In the Salle Gaveau, at the Lily Laskine Concour with my student Katie Kapelsohn

"WE NEED THIS RECORDING:" While the works of Debussy have been recorded often, the compositions of Caplet go virtually unknown. His early career was given a jump-start when, at age 23, he was awarded 1st Prize in France’s most distinguished musical composition concour, the Prix de Rome in 1901, demoting a certain Maurice Ravel into 3rd place. His virtuosity caught the attention of Debussy and the two shortly became devoted friends. Debussy held Caplet in high esteem and entrusted Caplet with much arranging and conducting of his own music. Apparently, Caplet was a perfectionist as a conductor and composer and his compositions are now considered French masterpieces. La masque de la mort rouge resembles a score to a Hitchcock thriller. The work is based on E. A. Poe’s The Mask of the Red Death and conjures up a gory profile of some kind of serial killer. His music is captivating with very forward-thinking harmonies and tonality. I have often performed this work in the original scoring for string orchestra, as well as the rendition for string quartet, but last December I finally had the opportunity to pair this work for the first time with Debussy’s Danse Sacree and Danse Profane. Michael Stern, the fantastic American conductor and my dear friend, conducted me in these works with the IRIS Orchestra, a dynamic ensemble and one of the finest in the country. We agreed that this would make an incredible recording. I’ve worked with many conductors on these pieces and I think that with Michael’s experience of conducting in Paris for many years, he brought a depth to both works that I had never encountered.

Caplet at his desk (inscription R corner): To my great teacher Claude Debussy, affectionately and devoted yours always André Caplet
Caplet at his desk (inscription R corner): To my great teacher Claude Debussy, affectionately and devoted yours always André Caplet

"WHY FUND:" Except for the most visible performing artists, there is no funding for solo instruments with orchestra. Recording budgets for orchestras have disappeared. As a solo harpist, I am not given the same opportunities as a violinist or pianist in regards to concerto offerings, let alone a concerto recording. Being an ambassador of my instrument, I have the opportunity to give this rarely exposed, priceless music a current, visible voice.

So I’d better take a full swing. I need to raise $18,000, all of which will go to the musicians of IRIS Orchestra and the recording's postproduction costs. But you should be aware that I have already cut my budget thanks to my dear friends Michael Stern, Roberto Díaz and Jeffrey Khaner, all of whom have donated their services to this recording. Even the video you watched was made possible by my friends and colleagues from The Philadelphia Orchestra who have gave up a vacation day to come downtown and play some Caplet and Debussy.

I hope you will join them by joining me as a friend here at Kickstarter. Let's make Les Amis a reality. WIth sincere thanks, Elizabeth Hainen

On the recording:

The Mask of the Red Death by Andrè Caplet

Sonata pour flûte, alto et harpe by Claude Debussy

Deux Divertissements by Andrè Caplet

Petite Suite by Claude Debussy, arranged by E. Hainen   

Danses Sacrée et Profane by Claude Debussy

Risks and challenges

All of the recording dates are now scheduled and confirmed: February 2012 and March 2012.
I have a team of students to help implement the "rewards."
Rewards that are part of an event are scheduled.
The recording itself will be released by an outstanding company which I explain in my mission statement and video.
I believe that with my history as a performer and recording artist I fully understand the challenges and will meet them 100%.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    You'll receive an advance download of "Le masque de la mort rouge" from Les Amis.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    For all of you viola, flute & harp friends you'll receive an advance download of Debussy's "Sonate" from Les Amis.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You'll receive an advance download of Les Amis.

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    You'll receive an advance CD signed by Elizabeth Hainen, plus a download of Les Amis.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    In addition to the items at the $50 reward level, we’ll send you a signed limited edition Lyon & Healy Artist poster of Elizabeth Hainen.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    In addition to the $75 reward level, we’ll send you an autographed production still of the IRIS Orchestra, Michael Stern and Elizabeth Hainen.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    All items at the $125 reward level…two VIP tickets to the "NYC Les Amis Release Party" at Etcetera Etcetera with a special performance appearance by Elizabeth Hainen.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    All items at the $125 reward level…two VIP tickets to the "Philadelphia Les Amis Release Party" at the World Café with a special performance appearance by Elizabeth Hainen and members of The Philadelphia Orchestra.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All items at the $250/$300 level…Special Patron mention in the CD booklet of Les Amis.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    All $500 level items, plus two tickets and VIP backstage tour given by Elizabeth Hainen to a Philadelphia Orchestra concert.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    All items at the $500 level, plus two tickets to North American Premiere of Nu Shu Concerto by Tan Dun. Includes backstage VIP pass to meet Elizabeth Hainen and Tan Dun.

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    Pledge $4,000 or more About $4,000

    All $2500 level items, plus an invitation for four people to a private concert given by Roberto Diaz, Jeffrey Khaner and Elizabeth Hainen. Performance to take place in a Philadelphia patron’s prestigious home.

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    Pledge $7,000 or more About $7,000

    All $4000 level items, plus an hour-long private concert in your home by Elizabeth Hainen. Each of your guests (up to twenty people) will receive a signed CD of Les Amis. (*Limited to Continental US, donor pays for travel outside of Philadelphia Metro area. Date before January 2014, TBD with Artist.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)