Inspiration for the Garden triptych.

Inspiration for the Garden triptych.

Garden triptych premiere

Posted on March 25, 2022

Justina’s composition Garden triptych will be premiered on the 31th of March at the Conservatoire of Jean-Jacques Werner in Fresnes, France by the students of Florence Renaud-Goud‘s harp class. This is educational piece written for 3 concert harps and 3 lever harps. The ages of performers raging from 12 to 17 years old. Each harp is heavily prepared and each harpist has a personal role.

Garden triptych (2022) for 6 harps

Conservatoire de Fresnes commission written for Florence Renaud-Goud’s harp class:
3 concert harps & 3 lever harps.

Program Note

The title refers to the triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights by the renaissance painter Hieronymous Bosch. Several of his paintings show an unusual representation of the harp: an instrument of pleasure that leads to damnation in hell. It is a big contrast from the classical representation of angels playing sacred harps in the middle ages. Harps represented in Bosch’s paintings are medieval European harps with buzzing bray pins. It gets its name from the L-shaped pins in the soundboard, which function not only to hold the string in place but to vibrate against the string, creating a frisson of sound like a donkey’s bray. In modern terms, it would be described as distortion/overdrive on an electric guitar. The composition gets inspiration from this interesting sounding exploring simple ways to distort the sound of the strings with paper clips, jingles, rubber cable tags, etc., or by searching for ‘zang’/buzz while placing the tuning in-between positions. Bosch’s paintings incite the imagination. For me, the sounds of the harp that create a mysterious and scary atmosphere are far more interesting than the beautiful passages up. However, in this piece I wanted to show different representations of the instrument choosing the form suggested by Hieronymous Bosch’s triptych: (Intro) – Inferno – The Garden of Earthly Delights – Eden – (Outro). Intro & Outro symbolically represents the opening & closing of the colorful inside panels while replacing them with the monochrome outer panels that set the stage where the pitch is hidden by noise.

Justina Repeckaite

An interesting article, arguing that the music instruments from the triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights are impossible to play with since in Bosch’s painting “music has been silenced in hell”, can be found HERE.