Der Hinterbringer

Complete Work Title: 

Der Hinterbringer (The Tattletale) — character study after Elias Canetti

Performance Medium: 

solo piccolo




for Elizabeth McNutt

Date Composed: 

February - April 2013

Additional Information: 

• Included on the album Improbable Encounters (innova 873, 2014).

Performance History: 

Elizabeth McNutt, piccolo:
• 19 September 2016; University of North Texas (Denton, TX) )
• 30 March 2016; Ruth Gant Recital Hall, St. Cloud State University (St. Cloud, MN)
• 18 March 2014; University of North Texas (Denton, TX) [premiere]

Program Notes: 

Der Hinterbringer ("The Tattletale") is the twelfth in a series of short works for solo instrument based upon the vividly surreal characters in Der Ohrenzeuge: Fünfzig Charaktere ("Earwitness: Fifty Characters"), written in 1974 by the Bulgarian-born British-Austrian novelist Elias Canetti (1905-1994). Canetti’s distinctive studies incorporate poetic imagery, singular insights, and unabashed wordplay to create fifty ironic paradigms of human behavior. Begun in 1997, there are fifteen works in this series to date, composed for contrabass, violin, contrabassoon, ocarina, glass harmonica, bass flute, alto saxophone, trumpet, percussion, bass saxophone, guitar, piccolo, organ, basset horn, and violoncello. In Canetti's depiction of this character, The Tattletale "won't keep anything to himself if it could hurt someone's feelings. He hurries and gets a steal on other tattletales... [he] will overlook no insult uttered in anger, and he makes sure that it teaches the insultee."

Der Hinterbringer was composed between February and April of 2013 for flutist Elizabeth McNutt, who premiered the work at the University of North Texas on March 18, 2014. It is included on the album Improbable Encounters (innova 873, 2014).