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Boom of the Tingling Strings

Boom of the Tingling Strings

for piano and orchestra

Revised and corrected edition by Paul Mann (2014)


  • Instrumentation: piano and orchestra
  • Edition: performance material

 
description
Piano (1918) by D.H. Lawrence
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlor, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

I began this piece after reading Lawrence's splendid poem late in 1998. The poem's depiction of a small boy sitting under the piano in "the boom of the tingling strings" - a wonderful phrase - had an enormously strong resonance with my own memories of childhood, and, in the first movement, I wanted to describe the same nostalgic yearning for a vanished, maybe rose-tinted, past. What follows might be seen to depict my journey forward from there, with occasional fond backward glances, towards a world beyond Lawrence's "flood of remembrance", and his weeping for the past. Although prone to that myself, I wanted to end in a more hopeful and joyous world where one perhaps learns from the past rather than living in it.
JL

Postscript.
After the piece was finished and had been performed twice, (first in Brisbane in February 2003 with pianist Michael Kieran Harvey and The Queensland Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann, the second time in Luxembourg in May with Michael and Paul again and The Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg) I was made aware of the earlier version of the poem, below, which seems to justify my decision to end the concerto with positive hope in an uncertain future, and with "the great black piano" racing towards a joyful clamorous ending.


The Piano

Somewhere beneath that piano's superb sleek black
Must hide my mother's piano, little and brown with the back
That stood close to the wall, and the front's faded silk, both torn
And the keys with little hollows, that my mother's fingers had worn.
Softly, in the shadows, a woman is singing to me
Quietly, through the years I have crept back to see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the shaking strings
Pressing the little poised feet of the mother who smiles as she sings
The full throated woman has chosen a winning, living song 
And surely the heart that is in me must belong
To the old Sunday evenings, when darkness wandered outside 
And hymns gleamed on our warm lips, as we watched mother's fingers glide
Or this is my sister at home in the old front room
Singing love's first surprised gladness, alone in the gloom.
She will start when she sees me, and blushing, spread out her hands
To cover my mouth's raillery, till I'm bound in her shame's heart-spun bands
A woman is singing me a wild Hungarian air
And her arms, and her bosom and the whole of her soul is bare
And the great black piano is clamouring as my mother's never could clamour
And the tunes of the past are devoured of this music's ravaging glamour.
Details
Content text:
Adagio assai · Larghetto · Andante - II L’istesso tempo
III Adagio - IV Allegro vivace
Performance duration: 34'0"
Publisher: Schott Music Enterprise GmbH
Subtitle: for piano and orchestra
Uraufführung : 15. Februar 2003 Brisbane, City Hall (AUS) · Michael Kieran Harvey, piano · Dirigent: Paul Mann · Queensland Orchestra
Year of composition: 2002
instrumentation: 3(3.pic).2.2.2-4.2.3.1-timp.4perc(glsp, crot, xyl, tri, sus cym, cym, tam-t, tamb, s.d, b.d, marac, wdbl, sand block, slap stick)-hp.cel-str
Piano (1918) by D.H. Lawrence
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlor, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

I began this piece after reading Lawrence's splendid poem late in 1998. The poem's depiction of a small boy sitting under the piano in "the boom of the tingling strings" - a wonderful phrase - had an enormously strong resonance with my own memories of childhood, and, in the first movement, I wanted to describe the same nostalgic yearning for a vanished, maybe rose-tinted, past. What follows might be seen to depict my journey forward from there, with occasional fond backward glances, towards a world beyond Lawrence's "flood of remembrance", and his weeping for the past. Although prone to that myself, I wanted to end in a more hopeful and joyous world where one perhaps learns from the past rather than living in it.
JL

Postscript.
After the piece was finished and had been performed twice, (first in Brisbane in February 2003 with pianist Michael Kieran Harvey and The Queensland Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann, the second time in Luxembourg in May with Michael and Paul again and The Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg) I was made aware of the earlier version of the poem, below, which seems to justify my decision to end the concerto with positive hope in an uncertain future, and with "the great black piano" racing towards a joyful clamorous ending.


The Piano

Somewhere beneath that piano's superb sleek black
Must hide my mother's piano, little and brown with the back
That stood close to the wall, and the front's faded silk, both torn
And the keys with little hollows, that my mother's fingers had worn.
Softly, in the shadows, a woman is singing to me
Quietly, through the years I have crept back to see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the shaking strings
Pressing the little poised feet of the mother who smiles as she sings
The full throated woman has chosen a winning, living song 
And surely the heart that is in me must belong
To the old Sunday evenings, when darkness wandered outside 
And hymns gleamed on our warm lips, as we watched mother's fingers glide
Or this is my sister at home in the old front room
Singing love's first surprised gladness, alone in the gloom.
She will start when she sees me, and blushing, spread out her hands
To cover my mouth's raillery, till I'm bound in her shame's heart-spun bands
A woman is singing me a wild Hungarian air
And her arms, and her bosom and the whole of her soul is bare
And the great black piano is clamouring as my mother's never could clamour
And the tunes of the past are devoured of this music's ravaging glamour.
Content text:
Adagio assai · Larghetto · Andante - II L’istesso tempo
III Adagio - IV Allegro vivace
Performance duration: 34'0"
Publisher: Schott Music Enterprise GmbH
Subtitle: for piano and orchestra
Uraufführung : 15. Februar 2003 Brisbane, City Hall (AUS) · Michael Kieran Harvey, piano · Dirigent: Paul Mann · Queensland Orchestra
Year of composition: 2002
instrumentation: 3(3.pic).2.2.2-4.2.3.1-timp.4perc(glsp, crot, xyl, tri, sus cym, cym, tam-t, tamb, s.d, b.d, marac, wdbl, sand block, slap stick)-hp.cel-str
Conductor: Paul Mann
Orchestra: Odense Symfoniorkester
2006-12-08 | Odense (Denmark), Carl Nielsen Salen — 20.00 h
Conductor: Paul Mann
Orchestra: Odense Symfoniorkester
2006-12-07 | Odense (Denmark), Carl Nielsen Salen — 20.00 h
Conductor: Paul Mann
Orchestra: Queensland Orchestra
2003-02-15 | Brisbane (Australia), City Hall
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