The Origin of the Harp


chamber ensemble of 10 players
Mixed Chamber Ensemble
3 cl(I in A.I+II in Bb=bcl) – perc(1): 3 susp.cym/siz.cym/BD/wood chimes/shell chimes/2 pair med marimba mallets with small rattles attached/7 gongs/6 susp.gongs/mar/2 pedal rototoms/timp/marimbula/grand pno – 3 vla.3 vlc(III=rain stick)

Commissioned by the Hallé Orchestra

First Performance
6.10.1994, Free Trade Hall, Manchester, UK: Ensemble from Hallé Orchestra/Thomas Adès

Score 0571518117 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes
This piece takes its title from a painting by Daniel Maclise (1806–1870) in the Manchester City Art Gallery. Its subject is the mock Celtic Legend of a water nymph who falls for a mortal and struggles hopelessly to leave her element and join him on land. The Gods, taking pity on her failure, intervene and turn her into a harp, transforming her weeping into a gentle music of wind through strings. The painting shows her in the moment preceding the metamorphosis, the strands of her hair framed by a triangle of her body, a rock and her arm. In
this piece, too, the harp itself is not featured but suggested, at the start of the fourth and final section, after a flash of divine intervention.
© Thomas Adès

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