A Gleam of Time (1983)

Basic Information
Japanese 時の閃き(ア・グリーム・オブ・タイム)
German A Gleam of Time
Opus 053
Year 1983
Category Solo
Duration 11 min.
Instruments hp
Score information
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Description by the Composer

«The harp is usually said to have an "ancient" or "elegant" feeling about it. It brings with it images from the wall paintings of ancient Egypt. But the invention of a pedal for changing intervals by Hochbrucker in Bavaria in the middle of the eighteenth century changed the harp's image considerably. Although the harp continues to be the leading embodiment of "elegant sound" in the twentieth century, as witnessed by the music of Debussy, the lattr part of the century has also seen the harp produce a radically contemporary sound.

«Various comparatively new compositional methods are employed in "A Gleam of Time." For example, a suggestion of new tonality drifts through the phrase intervals (Gis–Es–Ces–A) of the opening section, and long twice, and from its repetitions emerge minimal melodic, harmonic changes (expansions and constrictions). The piece is also generated by a method of using discontinuous musical time that disrupts metronomic rhythms with rapid passages or "gleams" and by the internalization of "quotations." I should mention in this connection that the central part of the piece contains several bars of quotations from "Stanza II" by Tōru Takemitsu, to whom the work is dedicated.

«In other words, the piece takes full note of both the harp's special "elegance" and its "radical contemporaneity" and sets out from there to discover a new dimension in harp sound.

«The work was first performed by Ayako Shinozaki in Tokyo on June 2, 1983 at the Celebration of Maki Ishii's Works at the Music Today Festival.»

Maki Ishii (transl. C. Drake)