Be Good To Your Fingers And They Won't Kill You
About this work:
Be Good to Your Fingers and They Won't Kill You (1994)
The basic material of Be Good to Your Fingers and They Won't Kill You was composed around 1981 or '82 and consisted of a melody and a homophonic harmonization. I always intended to develop the music further but somehow just never got around to it. When asked for a new piece for a concert by ALEA III, I decided to finally bring that project to a conclusion. It was fun and interesting to apply my later musical thinking and technique to material that I had started so long before.
The form of the work as it exists now is basically a movement from relative chaos to complete order. It is a lot like a jigsaw puzzle: First the pieces are scattered about and turned face up, then the borders are defined, and finally everything is filled in. In Be Good to Your Fingers... the players are only loosely coordinated at first, often playing independently of one another in different tempi. Eventually their synchronization becomes precise, but the musical texture is still highly contrapuntal. This finally culminates in the theme stated in predominantly homophonic texture (the original basic material).
Around the time I wrote the original tune I cut my finger rather badly while preparing a meal - hence the title. Unfortunately it came to have relevance again while working on this, due to a repetitive strain injury brought on by computer music copying. Musicians, beware.
Year composed: 1994
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Other Combinations, 2-5 players
Instrumentation: 1 Clarinet, 1 Bassoon, 1 Percussion (General), 1 Viola, 1 Double bass
Instrumentation notes: The percussion part is played, and functions, like a drumset. The exact instrumentation is somewhat flexible, according to the composer's suggestions.