Canetti-menagerie

Complete Work Title: 

Canetti-menagerie


Performance Medium: 

variable (5-8 players), drawn from instruments included in the composer's Canetti character studies: piccolo, bass flute, ocarina, basset horn, alto saxophone, bass saxophone, contrabassoon, trumpet, percussion, glass harmonica, organ, guitar, violin, violoncello, contrabass.


Duration: 

variable (c.7:00-12:00)


Date Composed: 

March 2015


Performance Information: 

• Semi-improvisational open-form work for mixed ensemble based on the composer's Character Studies after Elias Canetti.
• May be performed independently, in conjunction with the Canetti solo studies, or in an extended version incorporating various theatrical elements (including staging, lighting, text readings, dancers, etc.)


Performance History: 

Elizabeth McNutt, piccolo; Kimberly Cole Luevano, basset horn; John Holt, trumpet; Christopher Deane, percussion; Chaz Underriner, guitar; Andrew May, violin; Madeleine Shapiro, violoncello:
• 19 September 2016; University of North Texas (Denton, TX) [premiere]


Program Notes: 

Composed in March 2015, Canetti-menagerie is a semi-improvisational open-form work for five to eight performers, based on the composer’s collection of solo works after character studies in Elias Canetti's 1974 book Der Ohrenzeuge (Earwitness).  In Canetti-menagerie the performers improvise in various duo, trio, and quintet combinations, developing musical fragments from these solo studies, which are used as raw material for a variety of musical conversations — not unlike the interaction of distinct characters at a social gathering.  Whereas the solo works in this collection explore the psychological qualities of the characters portrayed in Canetti's Der Ohrenzeuge, Canetti-menagerie is more of a sociological study of these characters' various interactions — very much in the spirit of another one of Canetti's writings, Masse und Macht (Crowds and Power), an idiosyncratic yet penetrating study of group dynamics and power structures within various societal constructs.

Canetti-menagerie was first performed on 19 September 2016 at the University of North Texas by Elizabeth McNutt (piccolo), Kimberly Cole-Luevano (basset horn), John Holt (trumpet), Chris Deane (percussion), Chaz Underriner (guitar), Andrew May (violin), and Madeleine Shapiro (violoncello).