Concertino for Harp and String Orchestra was written in the fall of 1983 at the request of harpist Heidi Lehwalder. A series of unfortunate cascading events followed which left the work in limbo and unperformed for a number of years. The work finally received its first performances with harpist Andrea Steckermeier-Thiele and the Mesa (AZ) Symphony, Joel Brown, cond., and also with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Robert Moody, cond.
In November of 1983, my first child, Kari, was born and I found myself absorbed in a world of new responsibilities. The immediacy of that event dominated my consciousness. For the second movement, I wrote a lullaby for my newborn daughter. Emotions of an expectant father are revealed in the work; pure wonder, nervous excitement, loving tenderness, bubbling joy, and of course, the dull thud of overwhelming responsibility.
The work has a three-movement-in-one organizational plan. Each “movement” is introduced by a variation of the opening material. The work concludes with a small recapitulation of the first movement. The ending drifts into dreamy wonder before the final gesture returns the work to reality.
After the first performances, Andrea asked if I could prepare a version for solo harp, which I completed in the summer of 2001. The version includes most of the music of the original, although I have left out some tutti material uncharacteristic of the instrument. I wrote some new transitional material to bridge those gaps, and a new final coda.
A special ending has been provided for the Lullaby, if the harpist wishes to perform it separately. The ending tries to portray the baby falling asleep.