Der Maestroso

Complete Work Title: 

Der Maestroso — character study after Elias Canetti

Performance Medium: 

solo carillon



Date Composed: 


Additional Information: 
  • Commission from the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America Franco Competition Committee (2022).
  • 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.

Program Notes: 

Der Maestroso is the twenty-first in a series of short works for solo instrument based upon characters from 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, alto saxophone, trumpet, percussion, bass saxophone, guitar, piccolo, organ, basset horn, and violoncello, among others. In Canetti's depiction of this character, "the maestroso, if he moves forward at all, strides on columns.... Wherever the columns settle, a temple takes shape, and the worshippers are there in the twinkle of an eye. The maestroso travels with a solemn dignity around the world.... He sits in a special compartment, all by himself, the adepts stand bare-headed in the corridor, while he has his musical score in front of him, marking with weighty strokes the things that only he can mark, and the others outside shudder at every stroke of his."

Der Maestroso was composed in September-December 2022 on a commission from the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America Franco Committee.