piece for rebecca


For almost three months now, I’ve been writing a piece for harpsichord for my the harpsichordist Rebecca Pechefsky.Rebecca and I were classmates at Juilliard’s Pre-College Division back in the late 70’s, although she was a year behind me. We stayed in touch, and finally got together again at the first Sequenza 21 concert in 2005.

I’ve wanted Rebecca to perform a work of mine for some time-she’s a great harpsichord player, but in addition to the usual Baroque works for the instrument, Rebecca has also performed some modern music, and participated in a recording of a just intonation version of Terry Riley’s In C that I really like. I had hoped that she might perform this piece intentionally left blank, but she felt that the repeated notes weren’t feasible for harpsichord. I deferred to her expertise, and so came up with a new work that, while it could be performed with any keyboard, was intentionally written for harpsichord. I tried to keep it in a suitable range, but there were a few notes at one point that really work better an octave lower, so I placed these in as an ossia in the event someone performs this piece using a harpsichord with a larger range, or a standard piano or electronic keyboard.

The piece itself is about 20 minutes in duration, so it’s among my shorter works, being half the length of torture memos and a sixth as long as one of my string quartets and two of my piano works. It begins where torture memos left off, but otherwise has no relation to that piece. It’s mostly a series of repeated eighth notes for two hands.

It was notated using Finale 2010a, and as the harpsichord sample used by Finale isn’t optimal, I dumped the MIDI output into Reason 4.0.1 and used its harpsichord patch, which I think is much better. Now, it would be really interesting to hear it with a real harpsichord to see how close Reason nailed the harpsichord sampling.

Score is here. Audio file is here.