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Die Königskünderin (The King-proclaimer) — character study after Elias Canetti
to John Holt
John Holt, trumpet
Die Königskünderin (The King-proclaimer) is the eighth 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 King-proclaimer has something majestic about her.... She is tall and stately and her supply of scorn is inexhaustible. She can tell underlings by the least gesture and keeps them away from the king before he is even proclaimed."
Die Königskünderin was completed in April of 2006 and composed for trumpeter John Holt, who first performed the work at the University of North Texas on 17 October 2006. It is included on the recording Facets 3: New American Music for Trumpet (Crystal CD-768, 2009). In 2022, the work was transcribed for double-bell quarter-tone trumpet for performance by trumpeter Connor Johnson.