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, piano, cimbalom, 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.)

Additional Information: 

The "score" consists of performance instructions; source material for improvisation may be found in the Character Studies after Elias Canetti.


Performance History: 
  • 22 April 2019; Texas State University (San Marcos, TX)
  • 23 April 2019; Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, TX)

    Elizabeth McNutt, piccolo; Kimberly Cole Luevano, basset horn; Kyle Stec, alto saxophone; Andrew May, violin; Madeleine Shapiro, violoncello

  • 8 March 2019; Texas A&M University, Commerce (Commerce, TX)
  • 7 March 2019; University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)

    Elizabeth McNutt, piccolo; Kimberly Cole Luevano, basset horn; John Holt, trumpet; Jacob Garcia, percussion; Andrew May, violin; Redi Llupa, piano

  • 11 April 2018; Moody Performance Hall (Dallas, TX)

    Elizabeth McNutt, piccolo; Kimberly Cole Luevano, basset horn; John Holt, trumpet; Jacob Garcia, percussion; Christopher Deane, cimbalom; Andrew May, violin; Madeleine Shapiro, violoncello

  • 19 September 2016; University of North Texas (Denton, TX) [premiere]

    Elizabeth McNutt, piccolo; Kimberly Cole Luevano, basset horn; John Holt, trumpet; Christopher Deane, percussion; Chaz Underriner, guitar; Andrew May, violin; Madeleine Shapiro, violoncello


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 relationships — 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).