Tide Moon Earth Sun
concerto for harp and strings (2018)
duration: 23’
GRT • 202

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
Tide Moon Earth Sun is written for Meriel Owen and Omega Ensemble, commissioned by Matthew Hindson for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Music Series. The title is derived from Ross Baglin’s libretto for my second opera, The Parrot Factory:

The tide and the moon,
The moon and the earth
The earth and the sun
Are tied at their birth

This concerto for harp and strings is cast in a single movement of around 23 minutes duration and is a musical contemplation of this connectivity. Written in April 2018, the work received its premiere with Meriel Owen and Omega Ensemble at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra on 25 October 2018.

“The world premiere performance of Stuart Greenbaum’s composition Tide Moon Earth Sun – Concerto for Harp and Strings was a total change of pace. Written specifically for Canberra-raised harpist Meriel Owen and the Omega Ensemble, the connection between the natural elements was to the fore, inspired by lyrics from a Greenbaum opera. It began in a quiet, reflective way, with intermittent phrasing, then the strings came in providing colour in a descending melody. The second part of this this 23-minute composition fell into a deep, contemplative mood before changing to a dancing rhythm, which gave Owen full scope to reveal her superb technique and to fulfil the work’s central metaphor of connectivity between the instruments.”
Helen Musa, City News (Canberra), October 2018

“The series’ curator, introduced the next composer, Stuart Greenbaum, and the world premiere of his major piece, Tide Moon Earth Sun – Concerto for harp and strings. Commissioned by the CSO for the Australian Series, and written for harpist, Meriel Owen and Omega Ensemble, who played the work here, the title derives from Ross Baglin’s libretto for Greenbaum’s opera, The Parrot Factory. In a single movement of around 23 minutes, the harp began as if floating in space, introducing warm, gentle strings.  Owen’s beautiful touch created as much music in the spaces between the notes as in the notes themselves.  Omega, augmented by its double bass for this work, gave beautiful balance and support to the harp, slowly building the piece through its several sections and fabulous harmonies, until it moved along to a calm rhythm, finally resolving in just the hint of a flourish.

Almost not wanting the piece to finish, the audience gave it, its composer, and the performers a very warm reception. The brilliant musicianship and engaging works throughout this concert were enhanced even more by the performance space.  Well, it’s not actually a performance space – it is the entrance foyer to the National Portrait Gallery – but its design, perhaps accidentally, has yielded a marvellous acoustic for music (not so much for spoken voice, even amplified).  It has just the right amount of reverberation, which all the musicians used in this performance to great effect. All the ingredients blended perfectly for a musically very satisfying performance.”
Clinton White, Limelight Magazine, October 2018