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This work requires additional technological components and/or amplification.

Recording accompaniment component for the SOLO VERSION is available on a rental basis.

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes (Hendon Music)

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Krannert Center, Urbana-Champaign, IL
maya beiser, cello
Composer's Notes

Cello Counterpoint (2003) is scored for eight cellos and can be played by a soloist with the other parts pre-recorded or by a Cello Octet. It is in three movements, fast, slow fast.

The first and last movements are both based on a similar four chord cycle that moves ambiguously back and forth between c minor and Eb major. This harmonic cycle is treated extremely freely however, particularly in the third movement. As a matter of fact, what strikes me most about these movements is that they are generally the freest in structure of any I have ever written. The second, slow movement, is a canon in Eb minor involving, near the end of the movement, seven separate voices.

Cello Counterpoint is one of the most difficult pieces I have ever written, calling for extremely tight, fast moving rhythmic relationships not commonly found in the cello literature.

The piece is a little more than 11 minutes in duration and was co-commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and Leiden University, for cellist Maya Beiser.

© Steve Reich

Reproduction Rights:
This programme note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer

Recommended Recording

Maya Beiser
Nonesuch 7559 79891

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