Cheap trills (2018)

for solo harpsichord

I wrote this piece in late 2017 for an incredible installation by my friend Julie Zhu. She built a cardboard house, put a harpsichord inside, and then projected my face on the outside as I performed a set of new harpsichord compositions. I couldn’t shake the silly pun-title of this piece, so I decided to make it the work’s driving concept. The piece is effectively a catalogue of trills, notated and free, held together by a systematically-derived pitch language built on a V-I cadence. Pitch and form is decided strictly by various executions of the Golden Ratio, a cliché that is spiraled onto itself several times in the piece. Whispered incantations over chords borrowed from Sia’s song Cheap Thrills “cheapen” this structure, emanating as a disembodied song from the instrument itself.