Limberlost (2006)

Duration: 8’30

Instrumentation: solo harp

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Limberlost is a solo piece for harp based on the life of Gene Stratton-Porter (1863-1924).  She was the first female during the nineteenth century to write non-fiction works based on natural surroundings.  The Limberlost swamp in Indiana was the primary focus of the author’s work, since her recordings of the wildlife became an inspiration for her non-fiction works.  However, she turned into despair as the beautiful trees and natural habitats were cleared for farmland.  Unfortunately, the heavy rainfall and major floods failed to produce a harvest for the field.  The oil drilling of that time also destroyed this beautiful natural resource, which was an obstacle for Mrs. Stratton-Porter, as her life was dedicated to protecting the environment.  Limberlost was written for the 2006 USA International Harp Competition that was dedicated to the life of Gene-Stratton Porter.  Since this was my first opportunity to write for the harp, I was required to change my musical processes of writing for instruments.  I tried to evoke the life and settings of her works, since she was known to live a very simple life in the prairies of Indiana.  Her observation of birds in the swamp enabled me to portray her as an adventurous risk taker in the late nineteenth century.  During her lifetime the public thought she was rather strange, since instead of following the norms of the social protocol of that era, the woman spent her time trodding through dangerous swamps to find more information on all types of wildlife.  In Limberlost I also tried to depict the loneliness and mystery of the woman who dedicated her whole life to preserve the wildlife.  In the early 1990s the Department of Natural Resources in Indiana have began to restore the swamp, thanks to the writings and recorded documentation from Gene-Stratton Porter.

Limberlost was premiered by Kristal Schwartz at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on April 8, 2006, followed by an East Coast premiere at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, performed by Michelle Gott on August 3, 2006.