At this point, I’ve written a number of chamber pieces with harp, as well as a harp concerto. This all goes back to my association with Marie-Pierre Langlamet, an amazing harpist who for years now has been the harpist for the Berlin Philharmonic.
Going back so many years that if feels like another lifetime I was a very serious classical guitarist, and though I’ve written very little for the instrument, I imagine that for me the harp has somehow become a surrogate for the guitar.
Written for harp and string quartet, Ongoingness, consists of a single extended movement which, as the title suggests, morphs from one idea to another to another, continually changing in intensity, character, and affect.
The piece begins with solo harp. At the onset it suggests the harp’s ancient roots, but even as the first phrase expands it changes in character, and by the time the strings enter we have entered a different world. This process of gradual and often overlapping change continues throughout the piece.
Although it has no connection to the book, I confess that I took the title from the book of the distinguished writer and friend, Sarah Manguso, who has a memoir by the same name. It seemed to fit perfectly this idea of continual change and adaptation.
It’s with great pleasure that I’ve been able to write this piece for the harpist Bridget Kibbey, who I’ve worked with many times and whose playing never fails to amaze me with its skill, intensity, and expressiveness, and soul. The piece lasts 20 minutes.