La Madone, berceuse pour harpe solo, opus 43
La Madone is a love song that depicts the contemplation of the mother with child. With the ascending and descending patterns of the arpeggios, and the grating of the bass strings, produced by the action of the pedals (called esoteric sounds in harpist lingo), we continuously hear the rocking chair on which the mother is singing. Her words are sometimes soft, sometimes distressful, and at the same time filled with weariness and admiration. You know ... those moments shared by a mother and the newborn child. Both end up falling asleep in the softness of the harmonic sounds and the bliss of belonging to each other. La Madone was composed for harpist Valérie Milot. The gestation period of this piece saw two births : a little boy was born to a friend and collegue harpist, and my own daughter was born to my surprise on Christmas day, the day on which the Virgin Mary gave birth to the Messiah. That is why La Madone is dedicated to Isabelle Fortier, her son Maxim, my daughter Alfrëde and myself. On the technical side, La Madone allows the performer to appreciate different colors as well as a different manner of playing the harp. Yhe twelfth harmonics have a particular tone while ofering a nice way of playing chromatic notes (harpists pet peeve) without changing any pedal. I must give credit of this discovery to my composing mentor, Mr. Pierick Houdy. Moreover, the inalterability of the two lowest strings of the harp helps to resolve some pedal enigmas and makes possible what is usually impossible to write for the harp. As for the esoteric sounds, they will not be played by the fingers, but again, produced by the action of the pedals. The discs of the instrument will determine how clear and audible these sounds will be. The performer will have to "find his/her freedom" and play the piece according to the harp used ... one doesn't go without the other.