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FastNotes

  • Pulse…was, in part, a reaction to my Quartet of 2013 in which I changed keys more frequently than in any previous work…I felt the need to stay put harmonically and spin out smoother wind and string melodic lines…over a constant pulse in the electric bass and or piano.”

Pulse, for winds, strings, piano, and electric bass, was completed in 2015 [world premiere November 1, 2016, at Carnegie Hall, by ICE and So Percussion, conducted by David Robertson] and was, in part, a reaction to my Quartet of 2013 in which I changed keys more frequently than in any previous work. In Pulse I felt the need to stay put harmonically and spin out smoother wind and string melodic lines in canon over a constant pulse in the electric bass and or piano. From time to time this constant pulse is accented differently through changing hand alternation patterns on the piano. All in all, a calmer more contemplative piece lasting about 16 minutes.

As is well known, composing is primarily a solitary activity. However, after completing Pulse, I sought out suggestions for improving the piece from Maggie Heskin, my editor at Boosey & Hawkes. She offered several ideas which helped motivate me to find my solution of hand alternation patterns mentioned above. I want to thank Maggie for her thoughtful and generous help.  – Steve Reich