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Michael Byron's In the Village of Hope is a restless (and in some ways relentless) virtuosic harp solo performed by Tasha Smith Godínez, who commissioned the work. This ever-changing, ever-churning, ever-developing music is unlike anything else in the solo harp repertoire, though not unlike some of Byron’s other recent work, such as his Book of Horizons for pianist Joseph Kubera.
Byron writes about the music:
“In the Village of Hope,” a purely sentimental title, was composed at the invitation of harpist Tasha Smith Godínez. As a student of musicologist Eric Smigel, she began the task of writing a thesis on my music. After our first correspondence, we began communicating frequently. The piece was composed over a period of approximately six-months, beginning on New Year’s Day, 2013.
“It is a piece of unabashed virtuosity. Its complex temporal structure and intricate counterpoint vie for the listener’s attention. Pitch resources are limited to diatonic collections, enabling harmonic relationships to seamlessly cycle through seven contiguous key changes. With a sound reminiscent of wind chimes, it yields fields of harmonic stasis—that mysterious circumstance of individual notes diverging and merging to form a delicate fabric of sound.”
“This music is perfectly suited to the harp providing just the right timbre for the complexity and hopefulness that are combined in this piece. There is an exotic and idealistic feeling to In the Village of Hope that is beautifully drawn out by the playing of Ms. Godínez, who negotiates the 22-minute shower of notes with assurance and perfect command of her instrument. This is an impressive work, both in concept and performance—In the Village of Hope perfectly captures the optimism and tranquility that seems so elusive in our busy lives.” —Paul Muller, Sequenza21
“Reaffirming its status as one of the most exciting innovations in the recording and marketing of modern composition since the introduction of magnetic tape, Cold Blue Music‘s series of “singles”—a new, minimalist or post-minimalist work rarely longer than twenty minutes, premiered on its own disc in the label’s usual beautiful packaging—issues three new gems…. First, the evanescent wind chime Orientalism of Michael Byron‘s In the Village of Hope, played by Tasha Smith Godínez on the harp, conveys a train schedule of emotions.”—Stephen Fruitman, Igloo Magazine