Philadelphia Suite

Viola and piano
1. Firefly Prelude
2. A Close Call
3. Memory
4. Kingfisher
5. Urban Hootenanny

It was the Three Pieces by Amanda Harberg, performed with the composer at the piano, that left a vivid impression with their infectious capriciousness.

Harberg is a pianist whose technical and interpretive abilities match her very accomplished compositional skills.

Amanda Harberg’s crisp, focused Philadelphia Suite for viola and piano stood out. Her music is always to the point. When it is lively, even fun, it is in a most audience-engaging manner. At other times she evokes a most hauntingly moving emotional landscape.

She caught the underlying magic in each picture that she painted.

Program Notes

I composed Philadelphia Suite during a time of great transition. My family and I had just moved out of our New York City apartment to our new home in New Jersey. My two young children and I stayed with my parents in my childhood home, in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, while my husband renovated our New Jersey home. It was during this time that I composed Philadelphia Suite for violist Brett Deubner.

Growing up, Chestnut Hill was for me a place full of magic, yearning, playfulness, heartbreak (or so I may have thought), wonder, happiness, and so much more. The nostalgia of this rich emotional landscape was triggered many times over during that summer, by watching my three-year old son chasing fireflies and my year-old daughter tottering after him (Firefly Prelude); the musical voices of my many relatives at a summer party (Urban Hootenanny), and the lush, evocative air in Fairmount Park where I loved to take endless soulful walks while growing up (Memory, A Close Call and Kingfisher).

Philadelphia Suite is about these memories and others. It is also about my observations of the place where I was a child filtered through the experiences of my own children.

The piece is dedicated with love and gratitude to my parents.

Urban Hootenanny
A Close Call
©2024 Copyright - Amanda Harberg