Filigree in Textileharp, 2 violins, viola, cello (2011)
|Commission||Fromm Music Foundation|
|Premiere||October 16, 2011; Miller Theater, New York, NY; Yolanda Kondonassis, harp; JACK Quartet|
Filigree in Textile was inspired by tapestry art in the Middle Ages and early imitative contrapuntal practice. The materials used for the weft threads in these early textiles suggested the characters and titles of the three movements: Gold, Silver, and Silk.
Gold features the most complicated process of unfolding musical material: the primary melodic cell is developed against its counter-subject, transformed variously by melodic inversion, retrograde, and stretching out or compressing its intervals and rhythms. It ends with a return to a transformed version of the initial subject.
Silver is a formal and somber dance in rhythmic unison. Its austerity is unbroken throughout, although its semi-strophic form flirts with development: chords and clusters evolving, harmonics that transform from their role as punctuators to the main timbre within a middle-section that lifts the dance icily en pointe.
Silk is the most fluid of the movements, featuring constant tumbling motion and transformation. The harp emerges into the foreground of the ensemble: the outline of the tapestry’s depictions.
I feel deeply privileged to have written this piece for Yolanda Kondonassis and the JACK Quartet. Yolanda was my beloved teacher for two years at the Cleveland Institute of Music when I was pursuing my performance degree in harp. I am truly in awe of her precision, sensitivity, and intelligence as a harpist, and equally in admiration of her beauty as an artist and an individual.
The JACK Quartet is also very dear to me: I have known them since our days together at Eastman, and have written several pieces for them; they continue to inspire me with their unparalleled string quartet playing.
This piece was made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation.