Opus 697

Unmeasured Preludes (2006)

for Harpsichord

  • (Fantastico molto)
  • (Lento espressivo)
  • (Presto flessibile)

Duration: 7 min.

Dedication: for Jeffrey Grossman

Publisher: Musik Fabrik

Performance materials available from the publisher.

Unmeasured Preludes (2006) were written for and are dedicated to harpsichord Jeffrey Grossman.

These preludes take their notational inspiration from the unmeasured preludes of the French 17th century claviciniste tradition, particularly those of Louis Couperin (c. 1626 – 1661), who is credited with having invented the genre. Though all pitches are precisely specified, many aspects of coordination, duration, and phrasing are left entirely to the performer.

The first prelude is vibrant, with fast runs, tremolandi, and excited figurations. The second is slow, expressive, and spare in texture. The third prelude features constant roulades of notes in the right hand, while the left hand builds up harmonies slowly. A brief slow section explores the same material in a more expressive form before returning to the flurry of the opening music again.