Love's Red Rose
Instrumentation: 2 Harps
Composition Date: 2003
Love’s Red Rose was written for Nora Bumanis and Julia Shaw. I was asked in 2001 by Nora, harpist for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, if I would be interested in writing a double harp concerto for her and her duo partner Julia. Her only request was that I incorporate the Robert Burns song My Love is Like a Red Red Rose. This idea arose because at the time Nora had just performed this piece at a memorial service for Nancy Fairley, a long-time and beloved member of the ESO Board of Governors. At first I thought I would just hint at the tune but as the work grew it became the central material of the slow section and lead me to call the entire Concerto Gaol's Ruadh Rús, which is Gaelic for Love's Red Rose. After the premiere Nora and Julia asked if I could adapt the slow section as a stand-alone duet.
This adaptation begins with some bold chords stated with a rhythm known as the "Scottish Snap" which are followed by a series of arpeggios leading into my setting of "My Love is Like a Red Red Rose". The melody is first played in a light and ethereal style then repeated in a more bold manor. The piece ends with the opening chords.