for Irish harp and orchestra
duration ca 14'
Gealán // ‘sparkle’
for Máire Ní Chathasaigh and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
"Molloy understands the potential of traditional and contemporary music. With such insider knowledge, the composer crafted a compelling synthesis of styles such as in the first movement where a traditional sounding dance in the harp arose from a minimalist soundscape. Now with two excellent concertos – this one and the previous one for violin – that develop spaces between traditional and contemporary music, Molloy has proven himself an adept composer in this idiom and leaves one waiting, expectantly, for his next large-scale contribution."
☞ Check out Tim Diovanni's review of the work in the Journal of Music.====
This concerto shows off three characteristics closely associated with the Irish harp: colourful, nimble and lyrical; qualities that perhaps could be said to define the dedicatee's own musical persona. In each of its three movements, Gealán brings one of these elements to the foreground. The first movement presents a soaring melody in F major in the uppermost register of the harp, allowing it to sing above the orchestra (with the help of some amplification!), accompanied by minimalist string fragments that return in various forms throughout the work. The second movement is a plaintive modal air, introduced by the clarinet and responded to by the harpist’s left-hand melody, coloured with filigree, whispering right-hand arpeggios. The final movement draws heavily on the Irish dance music tradition, borrowing on syncopated reel rhythms to create a nimble and virtuosic harp tune that allows Máire to showcase her formidable technique.
The première performance can be watched online at https://www.rte.ie/player/movie/rt%C3%A9-lyric-fm-20th-birthday-gala-concert/100384296122, starting about 48 minutes in.
01.05.19 – Anne-Marie O'Farrell & RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, cond. Gavin Moloney, National Concert Hall, Dublin, IE