The Dachstein

Elaine Fine

About this work:
In September of 1980 I started my first job. It was in an Austian town of 4,000 people, and about 40 of them were my flute and recorder students. It was a tiny Medieval town that had its own brewery and several wonderful bakeries. The town sat at the foot of a huge glacier called the Dachstein. The music school was partially supported the "Kamaradschafstbund," a group of old men who wore traditional Austrian clothes, drank beer, and flirted with women. They also supported the Stadtkapelle, the town band that played for funerals and other state occasions. In addition to teaching in the music school I played piccolo in the Stadtkapelle. The sun was always bright, the air was clean, and the students were musical. The blue sky with the Dachstein against it was one of the most glorious sights I had ever seen. The paths in the woods seemed to ring with Schubert melodies, and my life had the potential of being wonderful. One day in April I was told that l had to play for the main meeting of all the Austrian "Kamaradschaftsbunden." I asked a tuba player in the Stadtkapelle what the Kamaraschaftsbund actually was (I had been wondering). He answered "...from the war, from the war." All of a sudden it hit me. I was required to play for a meeting of Austrian war veterans from World War II. That means I was required to play for a meeting of people who were proud to have been Nazis. My job was supported by people who fought as Nazis, my students were grandchildren of Nazis, and I had to play for their main meeting as part of my job. I went to the meeting with a pain in my stomach. I gave my resignation immediately. I could no longer stay there. This piece is a "tone postcard" about my experience at the foot of the the Dachstein.
Year composed: 2002
Duration: 00:07:30
Ensemble type: Band:Wind Ensemble
Instrumentation: 1 Piccolo, 2 Flute, 2 Oboe, 1 Eb Clarinet, 3 Clarinet, 1 Bass Clarinet, 4 Bassoon, 1 Alto Saxophone, 1 Tenor Saxophone, 1 Baritone Saxophone, 4 Horn in F, 3 Trumpet, 2 Trombone, 1 Bass Trombone, 1 Tuba, 1 Euphonium/Tenor Tuba, 1 Timpani, 1 Xylophone, 1 Other Wind Instrument(s), 4 Other Percussion Instrument(s)
Instrumentation notes: The piece calls for bass saxophone, triangle, anvil, snare drum, and bass drum.
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