Item: 02-0010 [Nine Visions for flute and harp]
Nine Visions for flute and harp
Compact Disc

This cycle of nine “Visions” for flute and harp was written in July 2001, and inspired by the natural beauty of Ithaca, NY.

Price: $15.00 (plus s/h)

Product Details:
  • Composer: Laurie Conrad
  • Harp: Myra Kovary
  • Flute: Laura Campwell
  • Playing Time: 62 minutes
  • Item #: 02-0010

This cycle of nine “Visions” for flute and harp was written in July 2001, and inspired by the natural beauty of Ithaca, NY.

Listen to Samples:

Coming Soon!

Disc: 1

  1. Sunlight on the Falls
  2. Echoes in the Cliffs
  3. A Light Rain at the Falls
  4. Winter Birds
  5. Cathedrals of Light
  6. Children Play in the Sand and Waves
  7. Sprites
  8. Music of the Spheres
  9. The Lighthouse
  10. Elegie
Program Notes:

(written by the composer)

This cycle of nine “Visions” for flute and harp was written in July, 2001 in Ithaca, NY. Ithaca has many large and small waterfalls, two are only a block away from our house. I have been to the Falls nearby in the heat and sun of summer and in the cold and frost of winter, when massive icicles hung from the cliffs. A small waterfall is near the entrance to the Falls, to the right of a footpath. One then walks through a small forest to reach the large falls, which one can hear from our house on some summer nights.

  1. Sunlight on the Falls
    A beautiful day at the falls.

    I have spent many pleasant hours at the various falls found in Ithaca and the surrounding towns. This first Vision was of sunlight on the Falls near my house, the big falls at the edge of the small forest. This large waterfall turns into a large stream carved into the rock millennia ago, and surrounded by cliffs on both sides. In this Vision, I imagined the water cascading down the cliff from above, people gathered on the rocks below, sunbathing or strolling along the path through the forest.

  2. Echoes in the Cliffs
    The changing harmonies of the falls echo in the cliffs.

    Here, I saw a summer or fall day, with no people there, the cliffs echoing the sound of the waterfalls. The harp opening of this Vision is a descending whole tone scale, which repeats several times later in the Vision, including the final notes. These quiet runs are the echo of the water cascading gently down the face of the cliff. As the piece progresses, visitors begin to arrive in groups of twos or threes. The long harp cadenza, with its repeating long bass note, the sounds above it joining and separating, forming harmonies and changing chords - could be the Harmonies of Nature, the changing pitches of the Falls itself, and perhaps the feelings in the hearts of the people at its base.

  3. A Light Rain at the Falls
    A gentle rain greets me at the edge of the forest, refreshing and cool; the sound of small drums in the trees and shy raindrops make intricate patterns on the water.

    Here, I imagined a visit to the Falls in a light rain, most clearly represented in the harp cadenza. Near the end, I inserted a haunting, plaintive song - perhaps sad memories of the visitor’s dashed hopes or past tragedy. The Vision ends with the waterfall’s natural Beauty and Harmony and life, unsullied and untouched by the temporary intrusion of human thought and emotion.

  4. Winter Birds
    Winter, a small tree with bare branches and I see birds pretending they are leaves.

    Here, I saw a lone bird in a bare tree in winter. The harp represents winter, the greyness and winds and snow that winter brings. The lone bird, the flute, bravely and innocently sings, looking forward to summer’s heat and sun.

  5. Cathedrals of Light
    In my mind, I see many cathedrals of Light; their thin, sculpted spires reach into Infinity.

    In this Vision, I saw many cathedrals made of brilliant, Divine Light. The harp, throughout Vision V. represents the cathedral bells tolling, either loudly or softly. After some pages of score, the flute joins the harp as smaller bells, repeating the same notes over and over again, over the sound of the harp’s longer bells. Towards the end of Vision V, the harp begins fast runs that outline the shapes of the cathedrals’ spires of Light on the pages of the score. These fast notes might suggest the harmonies of the bells, their overtones - or the true spirituality that is the true Cathedral, the non-physical Cathedral - the Divine Itself. Over these quietly moving harp tones, the flute introduces melodies that I thought of as the plainsong of monks or nuns singing in the Church, or singing inwardly in prayer.

  6. Children Play in the Sand and Waves
    An almost empty beach, with children playing in the sand and waves, the blue-green water behind them and the whiteness of the sand and sun.

    The opening flute solo of Vision VI. sets the stage, expressing the joy and innocence of the children and their natural tendency to play. When the harp enters with its eighth note chordal figure, the children begin to play together, the wind and the waves at their feet in the brilliant sun. The flute flutter tongue near the end of this Vision symbolizes the children teasing each other and giggling. A little chase follows and then laughter. A wonderful day at the beach.

  7. Sprites
    Today, sprites are happily dancing in the forest.

    Vision VII.also has a playful opening in the flute, this time sprites dancing and perhaps deciding what to do next. The children in Vision VII. are not human, they are from another realm and made of light. The image I had was of sprites playing and dancing and taking occasional rests from their activity as they pondered or busied themselves in various other innocent occupations - or just basked in the beauty around them. Later in the piece, I wrote in a short Renaissance dance, a more formal, structured dance for the sprites to dance to. Afterwards, they return to their more natural and simple innocent play and dance. The end of this Vision is pure fun. I see them chasing each other, perhaps finally tumbling over each other or on the ground or down a gentle slope to end the dance. A happy afternoon in the woods.

  8. Music of the Spheres
    I am silently traveling the universe, listening to the Heavenly bodies vibrate in Harmony and Peace, struck by their beauty.

    Vision VIII. is scored for solo harp. The higher pitched held tones of the harp in section one could represent the sounds of stars, the longer, bass tones represent the planets. The middle, faster moving thirds could be the motion of the traveler, or the motion of smaller or more distant heavenly bodies.

    In the long cadenza, the fast notes are the twinkling of the stars or the higher harmonies, the overtones set off by the held low tones - those tones representing the planets, or other large planetary bodies. The loud "bangs" in the harp, or "thunder" as it is sometimes called, could be the pitch of black holes vibrating or the pedal tone of entire galaxies. Then, after the extended cadenza, we return to our original journey, traveling through space as a grateful and awestruck observer.

  9. The Lighthouse
    Waves gently play at my feet, and a feather lightly rests in the tall grasses.

    Vision IX. Was written following an excursion to Myers Point in Lansing, NY on a July’s summer day. The harp begins this Vision with quiet, gentle waves, and they become more extended and faster as the piece progresses - as though a wonderful wind has come up suddenly. The trills and fast notes of the flute represent the froth on the waves, or at other times, sharp points of sunlight on the water. The Vision ends as it began, with gentle waves in the harp. This time the flute echoes the harp melody, ending with a final trill - the quiet end of a perfect day.

  10. ELEGIE:

    Elegie was written during the U.S. invasion of Iraq for the innocent victims of the Iraqi war. Originally written for string quintet, in March, 2003.

The playing of harpist Myra Kovary and flautist Laura Campbell on the new CD “Visions for Flute and Harp” written by Laurie Conrad is superb. The music is well-adapted to the two instruments and captures visual images of nine scenes familiar to the Ithaca area. It is soothing and healing to listen to, as one would expect from such titles as “Sunlight on the Falls” and “Echoes on the Cliffs.” Ms. Conrad uses interesting effects in rhythm at times by overlapping tempos (having one instrument play at a faster tempo than the other) and does not over-do special effects on the harp. The ensemble of the two mature performers is excellent. Ms. Kovary, to whom the piece is dedicated, is very interpretive in the technically demanding harp solo “The Music of the Sprites.” An additional piece by Ms. Conrad, “Elegie,” dedicated to the innocent victims of the Iraqi war, provides pleasant contrast to round out this recording.
Ruth Wickersham Papalia
Ruth Wickersham Papalia is a graduate of the Oberlin (Ohio) Conservatory of Music and studied privately with Carlos Salzedo. She has toured the United States and Canada as a member of “The Angelaires Harp Quintet.” Over the past twenty years she has served the American Harp Society in various leadership positions including New York Regional Director and Chairman of the Board.
This cycle of nine “Visions” for flute and harp was written in July 2001 in Ithaca, New York, by the author, pianist and composer Laurie Conrad. Ithaca has many large and small waterfalls, two only a block away from the composer’s house, and much of the music here is a kind of meditation inspired by these natural features. Laurie Conrad writes: ‘I have been to the Falls nearby in the heat and sun of summer and in the cold and frost of winter, when massive icicles hung from the cliffs. A small waterfall is near the entrance to the Falls, to the right of a footpath. One then walks through a small forest to reach the large falls, which one can hear from the house on some summer nights.’ The cycle was written, for the most part, in a loose 12-tone technique. They are in almost a French Impressionist style, and the composer has made ample use of the whole tone scale, especially in the harp. The talented performers are Laura Campbell (flute) and Myra Kovary (harp), and highlights include an evocative Sunlight on the Falls, Winter Birds, Music of the Spheres and The Lighthouse
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