Instrumentation - - 2Perc (glsp/mar/vib/mcas/large shaker/2wdbl/2tgl/metal wind chimes/guiro/cast/claves/whip/tamb/finger cyms/BD/susp.cym/chimes) - solo harp (slight amplification recommended) - strings


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Programme Notes

The harp is one of the oldest and most beautiful instruments, from early civilizations to the present. Like the seven pedals on the modern harp, my concerto is divided into seven movements that reflect on many ages of the harp. Each movement is associated with a memorable figure associated with the harp:
Sappho Leaps
Sappho (seventh century BC): a Greek lyric poet who played the harp and (according to ancient lore) leaped from a cliff.
Sister Juana’s Hymn
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1648-1695): a Mexican nun who became famous as a poet, scholar and composer of music accompanied by harp.
Uhura’s Song
Nyoata Uhura (ca. 23rd century): fictional character from Africa, and communications officer on the USS Enterprise, who sang and played the harp on the original Star Trek television series (1964-1967).
David’s Prayer
David (ca. 1000 BC): young shepherd from the Old Testament who played the harp to soothe the spirits of King Saul.
Harpo Speaks
Harpo Marx (1888-1954): mute member of the Marx Brothers comedy team who played the harp in their numerous Hollywood films of the 1930s and 1940s.
Detroit Blue
Dorothy Ashby (1932-1986) and Alice Coltrane (1937-2007): innovators of the jazz harp from Detroit, Michigan.
Irish Wedding
Since the thirteen century, the Irish harp been associated with songs of war, dance and weddings. As the heraldic symbol of Ireland, the harp has been championed by Irish harpists from Turlough O’ Carolan.
© 2023 by Michael Daugherty

Harp of Ages

also perfs 13 & 14 May

Boettcher Concert Hall (Denver, CO, USA)

Courtney Hershey Bress/Colorado Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Litton

Find Out More