Concert offerings from Hannah Lash

 

Warmth and Cool: a Study in Contrast

Nino Rota, Sarabanda e Toccata
Marti Epstein, The Wonders of the Invisible World
Hannah Lash, Tree Suite
Hannah Lash, Stalk
Gabriel Fauré, Une chatelaine en sa tour
Hannah Lash, Sonata for Harp 

This is a program that brings into focus the harp’s capacity for both coolness and passion. The harp is uniquely capable of an icy, otherworldly sound, as in Epstein’s breathtaking new piece The Wonders of the Invisible World, or, in a very different but equally cool color, Fauré’s masterpiece Une chatelaine en sa tour. But on the other end of the spectrum, the harp can also be a very expressive, even hot-blooded character, as in Rota’s impassioned Sarabanda e Toccata, or my own miniature Stalk. I enjoy contrasting characters within one piece also. This sense of contrast within one work is most evident in my Tree Suite, a multi-movement piece featuring small character pieces, and my Sonata for Harp whose inner slow movement feels distant like a memory and whose last movement particularly is hotly chromatic and has reference to blues harmonies particularly in its coda.

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The Company I Keep

Hannah Lash, Imaginary Prelude (2015)
Paul Hindemith, Sonata for Harp (1939)
Lash, Sonata for Harp (2015)
Carlos Salzedo, Variations for Harp in Ancient Style, op 30 (1911)
Lash, Stalk (2008)
Gabriel Fauré, Une chatelaine en sa tour (1918)

In this program, Lash presents some of the harp repertoire she feels most connected to along with her own music. There are significant points of relationship between Lash’s compositions for the harp and that of Hindemith and Faure. Both these standard pieces represent music that is tightly knit and that develops material in a way that Lash feels is close to her own process.

In the Hindemith, there is a real sense of motivic and thematic development which relates the piece deeply to the Sonata tradition, and yet Hindemith is setting up his own unique tonal and formal syntax. This sense of relationship to the repertoire of the past is also in Lash’s music, along with a similarly organic treatment of material in the way it develops.

In the Fauré, there is a combination of color, rhythmic play, and lyricism which Lash also feels deeply relates to her own music. Salzedo’s variations are all about virtuosity. They are exuberant, and often humerus, and most of all an extraordinary physical challenge to the performer. Virtuosity is something Lash enjoys thinking about in her writing, pushing the boundaries of what is physically possible on the instrument.

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Sonatas for Harp

CPE Bach, Sonata for Harp (1762)
Paul Hindemith, Sonata for Harp (1939)
Hannah Lash, Sonata for Harp (2015)
Germaine Tailleferre, Sonata for Harp (1957)

Lash presents four sonatas for harp, examining different ways in which these pieces interact with what it means to be a sonata. The CPE Bach reflects a highly changeable and detailed surface, with harmonic underpinnings that reflect the affective colors of the late baroque. The Hindemith is a tightly crafted piece whose form reflects a traditional sonata but reimagines the conventions in some important ways. The Tailleferre also reflects the traditional, but through a lens wholly unique to the composer and the time and place in which the sonata was written: 1950′s Paris; it exudes a straightforward gestural language and an almost diatonic harmonic world. Lash’s own sonata also plays with what it means to be a sonata, drawing inspiration from the expressive, chromatic, and mobile harmonies of Schumann and Schubert.

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Bones, Muscles, Filigree

Hannah Lash, Stalk (2008)
Lash, Concert Etude: Silk (2011)
Lash, Imaginary Preludes (2015)
Lash, Sonata for Harp (2015)

This program is entirely comprised of Lash’s own compositions for harp. It is titled “Bones, Muscles, Filigree” for the way in which Lash thinks of her music: its background is defined and highly structured, while the materials which are designed like musculature determine the trajectory of the piece and its tendencies. The surface of the music is highly detailed, often delicate and colorful, suggesting filigree.