Saturday, July 01, 2006

Song of the Limberlost: a new piece for harp

Last summer, after promising myself that I would have nothing to do with composition contests, I wrote a piece for one. I did it because the specifics of the contest (it is called the USA International Harp Competition) asked for a piece that had something to do with Gene Stratton-Porter, who is one of my favorite writers. My first favorite book ever was The Magic Garden. I found a copy of it in my attic when I was a child. I was looking for The Secret Garden because my fourth grade teacher was reading it to us, and I wanted to read ahead. I read it countless times in childhood, and was able to read it again in adulthood when my husband Michael found a copy of it through a used book store many years ago, and gave it to me as a present. He also read it out loud to me. What a guy.

When I moved to my small midwestern town I actually found people who knew who Gene Stratton-Porter was, and there were even books of hers in the local library. Thanks to the library and to interlibrary loan (and a few lucky days in used book stores) I was able to read nearly all of her books in their original editions. Now her books have been reissued and are easily available. They are still rare and special to me.

For this contest I chose to write reflections on A Girl of the Limberlost because I have always wanted to write a piece to reflect the music in the novel. I am very proud of what I wrote, but it didn't win any of the prizes offered by the competition.

The big prize for me is that now I can share the piece, and anyone can play it. Here is a recording of it played by Julia Kay Jamieson.

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