John Thomas, started his career as the crowned champion of the Welsh triple harp, a folk harp with three rows of strings still in use in Wales. Lord Byron’s daughter Lady Ada Lovelace paid for him to study classical harp at the Royal Academy of Music in London. While he rose in the ranks in British society, he always remained faithful to his roots, composing many Welsh-inspired works for solo harp, and for voice and harp. He was appointed harpist to Queen Victoria in 1872.
In Reverie, a melancholy cantilena glides over suspended chords, gains momentum in a more agitated middle section, climaxing with powerful double 3-finger glissandos, one of the rare instances in John Thomas‘ music. Then the melody returns in the guise of fast arpeggios, arranged in a “three-handed technique” pattern (where an invisible hand seems to pluck the tune), with the added eerie effect of numerous synonym notes. A dream of a piece, it showcases the romantic singing voice of the harp, using the whole range of the instrument from bottom to top, in a powerful workout for the performer. It can be heard on the CD Beyond Dreams (6’57), also available for sale here.