Soñando en Español
by Deborah Henson-Conant
Concerto for Solo Electric Harp
The Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, York
12th June 2019
Soñando en Español is a three-movement harp concerto for harp and either full symphony or chamber ensemble written by Deborah Henson-Conant, a Grammy-Nominated composer, harpist and innovator whose music combines spontaneity with story, passion and character.
Soloist: Ruth Lee
Conductor: Daniel Hogan
With the University of York Chamber Ensemble
A concert featuring original and contemporary works for solo harp and chamber ensemble, 'reimagining' the concert experience
'Reimagined' creates an immersive, dream-like atmosphere by multi-sensory engagement. To encourage the audience to actively participate in the experience: to listen and to look. To discover. To find.
To engage the audience with physicality. Musicians emerging at the edges of the space and, at times, moving around it freely. Creating a unique and intimate environment, with my own original work and those of contemporary composers, to challenge the audience’s perceptions of the harp and classical music; reimagining them.
Music of the Angels (by Ruth Lee, 2018)
This piece received its premiere in the Future Blend Project 2018/19 where it was awarded First Place.
Comprised of three movements, each tells the story of a theological or mythical angel. The first movement is a depiction of Lucifer, the morning star who fell from the heavens and became synonymous with the Devil. The movement charts the relationship and the expectation between these two beings, God and Lucifer, from the latter’s perspective. It progresses through a chronological narrative of Lucifer’s increasing jealousy. He schemes and manipulates with the hope of becoming greater than God, which ends with his downfall.
The second movement is inspired by Gabriel, the bringer of good news to Mary; one of the most well-known angels in Christianity. The sound world explores both triumphant joyousness, as well as fragility in the telling of this newborn. Parallels between the relationships of Lucifer and Gabriel with God are suggested through melodies from the first movement reappearing, reworked in a major key. Gabriel is now what Lucifer could never be and the relationship with God is harmonious.
The third movement is a representation of the angel Cassiel, who appears in Jewish and Christian religion and mysticism, also drawing on the mythology surrounding the figure. One of his names is the angel of sadness or tears. His purpose is to shoulder pain – he cannot remove it, but he can soften the load. The opening is as heavy as those feelings can be, and the harmonics as fragile and tentative. The piece expresses recovery from deep loss: gradual but hopeful.
Reimagined was performed by the Phantasia Trio in February 2019
A concert for solo harp featuring original and contemporary works
Ostensibly true narratives which exist apart from ordinary human experience are prolific throughout time and culture. Although the term ‘myth’ may be assumed to deny validity, its Greek origins mean ‘sayings’ or ‘stories’; the term ‘myth’ does not denote truth or falsehood, only a tale. Folktales, fables, and religious beliefs through the ages are rich in number and in content. I am intrigued by these tales and want to explore them in musical narratives.