Concerto in E for Harpsichord, Percussion and Strings - (2018)
Conversations with my brother, Gordon, brought recollections to me from my
childhood and its musical experiences. From time as a choir boy, the
harpsichord seemed a normal part of life. Frank Owen as organist and
choirmaster (see more about him in the page on my
Contrappunto in A minor
composed in 1999) had built his own, and played it in concerts. My brother
recalled that Owen's "garage at his apartment on Mariposa Ave. [in Los
Angeles] was his harpsichord workshop as his car dwelt outdoors. He gave me
a tour once. He had cut the floor slab, excavated and formed and poured a
concrete 'mould' to form the curved side of the case. He steamed the
laminated wood, set in the mould and used screw jacks to press the wood into
the desired shape."
recollections included my being along when my mother visited Morse Preeman
Music in downtown Los Angeles. Morse Preeman, on South Spring Street, had
its own line of parchment manuscript paper, and that sort of music store
with much classical music in stock is lost as the world and technology
change. I recall with the incomplete images of a child my mother talking
with various customers, one having been Alice Ehlers who was teaching at USC
in that time as my brother recalls, as well as many in the academic, church
and synagogue music circles.
idea of a work for harpsichord as solo instrument in a small ensemble has
appealed to many, with new repertoire written throughout the 20th century,
among them composers Poulenc, de Falla and Górecki.
small work in three movements begins with a jaunty duple meter theme in E
major (and then E minor) for the harpsichord, introduces by the snare
drum, and accompanied by strings. The percussionist plays but three
instruments: snare drum, triangle and glockenspiel.
second movement is a set of statements in E Phrygian, beginning in the lower
strings, with restatements into the high strings, as the harpsichord
decorates in vary ways the tonality.
return to E major from the Phrygian allows a quick fugue theme in triple
meter as contrast to the more comber middle movement. Staccato, marcato and
legato phrasing alternate as the subject is announced and then plays out.
pages, circa 12' 15" - an MP3 emulation of the work is here:
and parts are available as a free PDF download, though any major
commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior
arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this score.
Harpsichord, Percussion and Strings
Full score - A4 edition