Gentle, subtle, refined and romantic, Thomas Adès’s The Origin of the Harp takes its inspiration from a painting by Daniel Maclise whose subject is the 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. A brief nine-minute tone poem for trios of clarinets, violas and cellos, and percussion, this work was first performed by the Hallé Orchestra in 1994.