"I often think of composing as being somewhat akin to painting - splashing different musical colours around. I'm particularly drawn to exploring harmonic structure."
For solo harp. Recorded as part of my 2013 CD Passage: music for solo harp.
I had a story in mind as I wrote Rhapsody - a picture in my imagination (never having been there!) of a day on the African veldt. From the low rumblings of the dawn, through various events, into a final brilliant sunset and the coming of the night.
For harp and double-bass (original) or harp and cello.
I originally wrote Cotton Butterfly for harp and double-bass, which is a great combination, but I'm also thrilled with how the piece sounds with harp and cello.
Cotton Butterfly tells a story - starting with the dark, enclosed chrysalis as the larva slowly changes. Eventually the music comes to a climax as the new butterfly emerges. It sits for awhile, as blood pumps to its wings, until it finally takes flight, more and more confidently, before flying off into the distance...
For solo harp. This pieces takes you on a journey through an autumn walk in the forest, with various sights and sounds and changing weather, until at the end we arrive back where we started - sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.
For solo harp. With Forgotten Summer I imagined the sudden memory of a half-forgotten summer day from childhood. The work tries to conjure up the summer smells, warm sun, and above all the sense of timelessness from a moment that seems to stretch on forever.
Sheet music available as part of my book Five Solos for Lever Harp (Forgotten Summer is playable on pedal harp as well, though several of the other pieces in the book work best for lever harp).
For solo harp. Sheet music (for both lever and pedal harp) available.
“I started composing Uncharted Shores on January 21st, 2020, live on camera for Harp Tuesday (my video series about playing the harp).
You can watch me pin down the beginnings of the piece in episode 178. During that episode I talked about how, going in, my only firm idea was that I wanted to use flowing, water-like patterns (something the harp does very well).
I finished writing Uncharted Shores as the effects of Covid-19 were sweeping through North America. The music and title capture some of my feelings of the time – of being at sea with no certain destination.
The title also describes how I typically compose – navigating my way through an unknown soundscape, as the shape of the composition gradually becomes clear.
In the closing section you can hear optimism and joy as we find safe harbor in the music. I hope we all find firm footing on these uncharted shores.”
Josh Layne July 11, 2020