... bisbigliando ... (2009) for solo harp and orchestra

Thomas Oboe Lee

About this work:

BMOP - Boston Modern Orchestra Project Ina Zdorovechti, harp solo Gil Rose, music director Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory of Music Boston, Massachusetts Premiere performance: May 22, 2009 Program note. “ … bisbigliando …” is my second concerto for harp and orchestra. The first one, Harp Concerto, was written for Ann Hobson Pilot and the Boston Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. Gunther Schuller was the conductor on the occasion of its premiere in 1985. Gil Rose, music director of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), and I have been talking about a new work for his orchestra for many years. When I suggested a few years ago a saxophone concerto, he said, “We’ve done too many sax concertos. Why don’t we think of something else? Maybe a harp concerto?” I said, “Sure … do you have a harpist in mind?” “I sure do. Ina Zdorovetchi. She is fabulous!!!” And so here it is: “… bisbigliando ….” The Italian term “bisbigliando” (tr. whispering) is a technique in harp playing that involves a fast repeated figure achieved by alternating enharmonically equivalent notes, for example, a tremolo between C and B-sharp. Or it could be a trill between adjacent notes, or even a fast tremolo chord. The work as suggested by its title begins with a rolled chord followed by a “bisbigliando” … and the rest of the work unfolds on that basic germ idea. Formally the concerto is in three movements. Structurally, it is a palindrome: ABCBA. The first movement is in two sections. Part A is comprised of a perpetuo moto figure in the harp, which is accompanied by a long sinewy melody emanating from the woodwinds. Part B is a march. The second movement, Part C, is an adagio featuring a big luscious melody in the strings with arpeggiating figures in the harp. A love song. The third movement returns to the material heard in the first movement but in reverse order. First we get Part B, the march. And then, after a short harp cadenza, Part A returns. Enjoy!!!

Year composed: 2009
Duration: 00:22:00
Ensemble type: Orchestra:Orchestra with Soloist(s)
Instrumentation: 2 Flute, 2 Oboe, 2 Clarinet, 2 Bassoon, 2 Horn in F, 2 Trumpet, 2 Trombone, 2 Percussion (General), 1 Strings (General), ,1 Harp soloist(s)

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