Harp Concerto (2021) – 13′

For Harp, 3 Percussion, and Strings (minimum 4,2,2,1)

 

Awards, Performances

  • Second Prize, SOCAN Foundation – 2021 Young Composer Awards
  • Honorable Mention, RED NOTE New Music Festival – 2021 Call for Scores
  • Honorable Mention, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York – 2021-2022 Emerging Composers Competition
  • Finalist, Classic Pure Vienna – 2021 International Composition Competition

Premiered May 2 2021 by Juan Riveros at the Cleveland Institute of Music

Other Performances: 

  • Additional Performances: November 14 2021 by Juan Riveros at the Cleveland Institute of Music

Video

 

 

Program Notes

Harp Concerto oscillates around two contrasting worlds. One is martial in character, the other is intimate and sensuous. The duality of their affects operates on all levels of these piece including the approach to temporality, symmetry and asymmetry as well as regularity and irregularity, among other matters.

Harp Concerto form functions like a mirror in that each affect predominates its respective half of the piece. At the same time, both affects are present at least to a small extent in either half. Both are inspired by the contrasting literature I was reading at the time of composition. The first one centers around courage and came as a result of a wealth of literature that stuck with me about courageous historical characters. One of said figures is Hannibal Barca, whose courage, zeal, creativity and ingenuity is endlessly inspiring and compelling. This affect was further nourished by many poems I was reading at the time about courage, most notably those of Abu Al-Tayyib Al-Moutanabbi and Al-Akhtal.

The second affect centres around a recurring quote from Gibran Khalil Gibran’s Arabic poetry on love. The quote is re-contextualized in his different works, nevertheless, it always relates to the inexpressibility of love. As Gibran is among the best-selling poets in English as well as Arabic, I have always wondered why this quote never made it into his English poetry since it is so compelling in either language. Other poetry that I was prominently interested in with regards to this affect is that of Said Akl and Nizar Qabbani. I was also obsessively looping specific passages of Fayrouz’s songs which most substantially speak to this affect.

I have chosen one quote from either affect to be representative of either of these worlds.

Affect 1: “Courage is the only virtue you cannot fake.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Affect 2: “Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.” – Gibran Khalil Gibran

Harp Concerto is dedicated to Juan Riveros, without whom this piece would not exist in its current form. I am eternally grateful for all of his help, patience, inspiration and dedication.

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