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Der Tückenfänger (The Wile-catcher) — character study after Elias Canetti
solo basset horn
For Kimberly Cole Luevano
October - December 2014
Kimberly Cole Luevano, basset horn
Der Tückenfänger (The Wile-catcher) is the fourteenth 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. The pitch material in Der Tückenfänger is based entirely on a symmetrical non-octave-repeating scale derived from a recursive <2,1,2,3> interval class set, with phrases generated from fractal progressions. In Canetti's depiction of this character, "the Wile-catcher looks around corners and will not be deceived. He knows what is hidden behind innocent masks, he knows, as if lightning has struck him, what someone wants from him; and before the mask falls of its own accord, he makes a quick decision and tears it off."
Der Tückenfänger was completed in December 2014 and composed for clarinetist Kimberly Cole Luevano, who premiered the work on 19 September 2016 at the University of North Texas.