(1990, rev. 2016) 12'Program note
Planctus, a song of lamentation, was prompted by two nearly simultaneous events: a request from oboist Fredric Cohen for a piece with harp, and the premature, tragic death of our friend harpist Karin Fuller. Written in her memory, the work unfolds in cycles of “discourse”—lyrical expressions of rational grief—and “planctus”—involuntary cries of despair. Within the discourse sections there are references to some of my other works that were either composed for Ms. Fuller or performed by her. A hymn melody, “Andujar” (see below), sung at her memorial service, figures prominently in the work, along with the suggestion of church bells. In overall conception, the work is indebted to other examples in this genre, particularly the medieval troubadour dirge of the same name. Available from the composer.