by Pamela J. Marshall

for harpsichord or piano

Duration ~10 min.


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The Suite has three movements:

1. Grazioso e rubato – con brio
2. Bright
3. Allegro spiritoso


The first movement is a flowing cascading music. This contrasts with a middle section that is more angular, with dotted rhythms, at one point devolving into a walking bass descending into the depths.

The second movement begins brightly with a three note-motive that accelerates until it bursts into a trill. Birdlike trills and woodpecker-like repeated notes build energy until the lively “splashing music” begins. I’ve always thought of the harpsichord sound as splashy, with its plucked bright tone that dies away quickly. The splashing music is an energetic section of hand-sized note clusters and other chords that jump around the keyboard.

The third movement is a scherzando allegro moving in uneven rhythms. At the beginning, 5/8 alternates with 3/8. Later the each of those time signatures sticks for a while with 3/8 measures driving to the cadences. The middle section begins in 5/8 with left hand answering right hand. Some long notes interrupt the momentum but a rising passage similar to music in the first movement brings the energy back, and the movement ends with the 5/8 – 3/8 music combined with the long note interruptions.

This music is dedicated to Bill and Nancy Burdine of Lexington, Massachusetts.

Level: Advanced

Duration: ~12 minutes, less if your tempos are fast


Listen to Suite, performed on harpsichord by Karen Sauer.


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