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).
  • This work is part of a collection of solo works based on character studies in Elias Canetti's book Der Ohrenzeuge (Earwitness).
  • Solo works from this collection may be programmed as a set, or in conjunction with the semi-improvisational, open-form works Canetti-menagerie (for five to eight instruments) or Conversations (for two to four instruments), which use these works as source material for improvisational interplay.

Performance/Broadcast History: 
  • 12 December 2021; Arc Project Online Festival (York, UK)
  • 23 April 2019; Texas State University (San Marcos, TX)
  • 22 April 2019; Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, TX)
  • 8 March 2019; Texas A&M University, Commerce (Commerce, TX)
  • 7 March 2019; University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)

    Elizabeth McNutt, piccolo

  • 20 April 2018; Lone Star College (Houston, TX) — Texas New Music Ensemble program

    Meg Griffith, piccolo

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

    Elizabeth McNutt, piccolo

  • 5 April 2018; Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacadoches, TX) — Texas New Music Ensemble program
  • 29 March 2018; The Hideout (Austin, TX) — Texas New Music Ensemble program
  • 1 March 2018; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Fort Worth, TX) — Texas New Music Ensemble program
  • 18 November 2017; The Rec Room (Houston, TX) — Texas New Music Ensemble program

    Meg Griffith, 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]

    Elizabeth McNutt, piccolo

Program Notes: 

Der Hinterbringer (The Tattletale) is the twelfth in a series of short works for solo instrument based upon 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. This collection of works, begun in 1997, was inspired by the vividly surreal depictions of Canetti’s characters and includes works for contrabass, violin, bass flute, ocarina, contrabassoon, glass harmonica, trumpet, percussion, bass saxophone, piccolo, organ, basset horn, and violoncello, among others.  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).