This work was inspired by Tolstoy‘s short story that retells the tale of the Good Samaritan, in which a fallen angel is befriended by a shoemaker who rescues him from homelessness and destitution. The Angel stays with him for six years until he finds the answers to three questions which allow him to be an angel again. He then grows back his wings enabling him to return to heaven.
In the first movement, in the midst of a Russian winter, the shoemaker encounters a poor man during a bitter blizzard. Realising he will not survive in the snow, he brings the fallen angel home, sharing last bread crumbs with his unexpected guest. In the second movement, a waltz, the shoemaker and the guest begin to work together, falling into a productive dance-like working rhythm. In the third and final movement, the Angel comes to find the answers to the three significant questions. He come to realise that at at the core of human existence is love, especially love for others. It is the love within us that is our inner angel.
The harp is featured throughout the work to represent the presence of the angel. The piece was written for the young musicians of the Melbourne Youth Orchestra. I focussed on making the orchestration as varied as possible in order to make the piece rewarding for all the players and their inspiring conductor Brett Kelly with whom I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate on many a project.