Piano and two EBows
Written and dedicated to Amit Dolberg, as part of the CEME 2020 festival of Meitar Ensemble.
I wrote the piece “Tehuda (resonance)” towards the end of 2019, dedicated to the pianist Amit
Dolberg as a part Meitar Ensemble’s CEME 2020 festival, in which I participated as a composer in
the class of Phillip Leroux.
The piece originated from my idea of exploring the piano’s biggest advantage over other
instruments - namely, its’ resonance. The piano as a resonating enclosure. Enabling the notes time
to breathe, resonate and fill the space of the instrument. I did this by using a lot of sustain pedal
throughout the piece, utilizing the electric bows, resonating clusters, and quick phrases in which the
sustain pedal is inserted - thus creating a cluster once more. Harmonically, I wanted to explore the
difference between how chords in open position and close position resonate. For example, right at
the beginning of the piece the pianist plays a very dense chord in his left hand (containing 5 notes
in close proximity), while the right hand plays a very spaced chord (3 notes distant from one
another). This element is expressed very often in the first part of the piece. Chords in open position
in contrast with chords in closed position.
As I mentioned, from the beginning until bar 32 we are presented with a very strong and clear
material of clusters on top of one another. The opening section (up to bar 32) is divided into musical
phrases progressing from short to long. Then, in bar 32, a new and different material emerges - quick
passages consisting of sixteenth notes (semi-quavers) in both hands, creating a contrast with the
opening material. What both these musical materials have in common is the use of the sustain - the
resonance of the chords created, combined with the electric bows.
The electric bows maintain a major second interval between the notes A and B, and act also as a
link between the different materials and sections in the piece. They are effectively the embodiment
of the piano’s resonance - they cause the strings to vibrate. I discovered that every time the pianist
releases the sustain the electric bows stop playing, and when the sustain pedal is pressed once more
the electric bows seem to creep in, thus creating a small crescendo. The performer’s only way of
activating the electric bows is to make their string available for vibration, either by using the sustain
pedal or by pressing the notes A and B themselves. In addition, the electric bows provide closure to
the cycle of the piece - it ends the same way in which it began.
“Tehuda” (resonance) begins with a very strong and grotesque material, and slowly slowly breaks
it down. One can think of it as the different stages of dealing with a certain tragedy - from the
moment it appears until you finally manage to grasp it. Or as resembling the transition of a certain
substance, from solid to gas, from clear and vivid to abstract.