for Irish harp and orchestra
duration ca 14'
Gealán // ‘sparkle’
for Máire Ní Chathasaigh and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
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.
UPDATE [April 2019]: Unfortunately, due to an injury, Máire is unable to perform at the première. The fantastic harpist and composer Dr Anne-Marie O'Farrell has agreed to step-in as soloist for this performance.
01.05.19 – Anne-Marie O'Farrell & RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, cond. Gavin Moloney, National Concert Hall, Dublin, IE