Adamo: Passionate and Protean

Adamo: Passionate and Protean
"Could one make a harp concerto that uses only the personae (not any explicit narrative) of angels from different cultures to liberate both the image and instrument from centuries of clich&eeacute;?" So wondered Mark Adamo as he embarked on composing his latest work, Four Angels: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra . The National Symphony commissioned Four Angels for its retiring principal harpist, Dotian Levalier, with premiere performances 7-9 June led by Leonard Slatkin.

Adamo views the harp as a strong and charismatic instrument, and wanted to portray it as such rather than the caricatured image of lilting, glissando accompaniment to sweetly singing heavenly hosts. "The passionate and protean angels of art and science bear little resemblance to the images of simpering cherubim prevalent in mass culture, [just as] the potentially dominant harp has been constantly sentimentally caricatured…" Adamo also tackled what he calls the centuries-old tradition "of hearing the harp only as accompaniment…[why not] compose a musical dialogue in which the harp's leadership is not only audible, but unmissable?" So, to break through these preconceptions, Adamo decided to have fun and "ransack sacred and secular texts for the most interesting figures I could find!"

The four movements of Four Angels are based on four powerful figures from across the religious spectrum: Metatron, Sraosha, Regina Coeli, and Mik'hail.

I) Metatron: (Kabbalah)

Metatron is the highest of angels in Heaven's hierarchy. He stands in council next to the throne of God and is permitted to look upon His countenance. Charged with the sustenance of mankind, Metatron is an angel of fire and presides at the peak of the angelic tree, surrounded by storm, thunder, whirlwinds, and lightning.

II) Sraosha: (Zoroastrianism)

Sraosha is the angel of Divine Intuition and the Protector of Souls. He guards the Chinvat bridge across which all souls must pass. He personifies the Voice of Conscience, and is an intermediary between God and man.

III) Regina Coeli: (Roman Catholicism)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the angelic Queen of Heaven, who upon her death was assumed bodily into Heaven by the seven orders of angels over whom she reigns. She sits at the right hand of God and intercedes on behalf of the faithful on Earth.

IV) Mik'hail (Judaism)

Michael is the beautiful archangel of Heaven whose name means "who is like God." He is the warrior commander of God's army. He crosses the boundaries of Abraham and features prominently in Christian and Muslim faiths. Michael is the protector of the Roman Catholic Church, the advocate of Israel, and in Islamic angel of peace and blessings.

Four Angels   25'
Harp; 2(pic).2(ca).2(bcl).2(cbn)/4.2.2+btbn.1/timp.3perc/pf(cel)/str