I. The Dancing White Lady; II. The Red-backed Spider; III. The Black Widow; IV. Tarantula

The “Spider’s Web” for harp and string quartet is a reworking of the version originally scored for string orchestra which had its premiere in 2013 at the Stadtsaal, Kufstein, Austria with soloist Gwyneth Wentink and the Cappella Istropolitana conducted by Bernhard Sieberer. It is based on “Spiders” for solo harp written in 1985 which has since become popular amongst harpists internationally!
The solo harp part is virtually the same as the original Spiders, with only a few additions. The string quartet accompanies the harp with added introductions, comments and interludes.
The movements are named after four of the most deadly spiders!
I. Dancing White Lady
II. Red Backed Spider
III. Black Widow
IV. Tarantula
The “Dancing White Lady” is a fast 7/8 movement with lots of crossed rhythms that weave between the quartet and the harp.
The second movement starts with a calm strings introduction giving the sense of peace. The harp interrupts this calm atmosphere with sharp irregular motives that represent the “Red Backed Spider” who sits patiently for its prey before it strikes with great speed.
In the “Black Widow” movement we enter the mysterious world of timelessness as the spider relentlessly weaves its web.
The last movement a tarantella is a wild Neapolitan dance in triple time; It is believed to take its name from the “Tarantula” whose poisonous bite is said causes a “hysterical impulse to dance”!

Click here to watch a live performance extract on YouTube
(orchestral version)

Remy van Kesteren, harp
Ivan Markovic, conductor
RTS orchestra


Written 2014

Solo Harp and string quartet
Length 14′

Commission:  Dutch International Harp Festival
Dedication:  ‘To Gwyneth Wentink’
Publisher: Universal Edition

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