Tonight I went to hear the Utah Symphony. It was an outstanding concert. There have been articles in the Salt Lake Tribune since last weekend about the harp concerto that was a part of the concert and I read all of them avidly so when it was time to leave to go to hear it I was more than ready. I went to the pre-concert lecture at which Mark Adamo, the composer of Four Angels spoke. The guest conductor, Keith Lockhart (our former conductor) and the soloist, Louise Vickerman (our principal harpist) also spoke at the lecture. Vickerman demonstrated some of the unusual sounds that would be in the piece.
The concert opened with selections from the first and second Carmen Suites, music everyone knows and loves. The selections were lively, well-played and an excellent sort of appetizer, if you will. The harp concerto was next followed by the complete Pulcinella (Stravinsky). There are parts for a tenor, a mezzo and bass in the complete ballet music. It's as different from The Firebird or Rite of Spring as can be imagined. Never having heard the whole thing before--it is rarely performed in the full length version--I confess to being surprised that it takes the form of music from the early 1700s but with a flash here and there of what I think of as the modern Stravinsky sound. The orchestra was pared down to chamber size for this piece. The soloists, whose parts are not long, were very good. (Lawrence Jones, Deborah Domanski and Jeffrey Tucker, respectively).
The harp concerto is what I really want to tell you about, though. It is in four parts, each part "telling" about an angel from a different tradition. I have noticed in the Bible that when angels appear to humans the first thing they say, before they tell the people what they have been sent to relay, is "Fear not!" That has lead me to think that our nursery notions of angels as sweet, little winged creatures is probably not accurate. I would guess that they are probably scary as all get out!
In the concerto the first angel is Metatron, from the Kabbalah, described as having 32 wings and "countless fiery eyes". That guy would scare me, for sure. The second, Sraosha, is from Zoroastrian tradition who judging from the music isn't a Hallmark angel, either: he is the angel of "divine intuition". The third is Mary, the mother of Jesus, and this section of the concerto was the most lyrical and the most approachable of the four. That, indeed, is her role as the intercessor for humans with God, so it was totally appropriate. The fourth angel is Michael, who is described as "the beautiful warrior prince" and appears in the entire Abrahamic tradition (Judaism, Catholicism and Islam). His music was strong and rather heroic.
The harp sound throughout this concerto wasn't twinkly and ethereal but very strong. Vickerman made some sounds with her harp I had never heard before and I'll bet you haven't either. This wasn't dainty sort of music at all but sometimes shocking, often melodious, always strong and assertive and totally wonderful. I would love to have a recording of this piece! There aren't any commercially available recordings yet that I know about but I hope one is made.
Oh, yes, weaving..... The scarf is all woven but I am playing around with the extra warp I put on. I thought that after weaving the whole scarf I would think of other things I could do using this threading. I promise to photograph both the scarf and the souvenir and post the pictures here. I wove the ends of the scarf as a tube, silvery gray on one side and the light olive green on the other so that I can tuck the raw ends inside and hem it neatly at both ends. The squares of solid color that are scattered on both sides are so tidy-looking that a fringe just seemed like the wrong finish for the ends. You'll see.