Le chant du chat échappé (2014)

for solo harp

This piece was written for my sister Heather and premiered by her at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario in April 2015. Growing up, Heather and I had a cat who, though kept strictly indoors, would occasionally attempt to escape into the wide world. I remember one dramatic incident in which the cat had to be pulled back inside by its tail after making a dash onto our deck. In this piece, I sought to musically depict cat sounds, which continuously vary in pitch (a fact familiar to cat owners), through glissando-like melodic figures. In my exploration of unusual harp timbres, I also found several techniques, such as tuning key slides and pedal glisses, which create appropriately catlike sliding gestures with distinctive colors. The title is French for “the song of the escaped cat.” I imagine what might have happened if our cat had made good its escape and set off on an adventure into the town. Would the cat enjoy its feeling of freedom and independence? Or would it become lonely and long to return home?

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