Samuel, Rhian: Dance of the Curlews. Two Harps
Dance of the Curlews was written at the request of harpist Skaila Kanga for her students at the Royal Academy of Music, London. It is an erratic dance in irregular metres, one harp answering the other until a climax in 5/4 is reached. In a contrasting central section, the instruments work together to create a little skipping melody as well as its quiet, steady accompaniment. This too rises to a 5/4 climax before the return of the first material which eventually dies away. Throughout the piece, each harp has its own mode or ‘scale’; though the modes are quite similar, at times they produce marked harmonic clashes. This is yet another way in which the piece explores unrelentingly the relationship of one instrument to the other.