Score (opens in new tab)
for sixteen players: two piccolos, two trumpets, three percussion, piano, two violins, two cellos, handbell quartet
duration: 7 minutes
Commissioned / premiered by:
the Opus Zero Band & Steven Dennis Bodner, director
premiered on December 9, 2010 at Chapin Hall, Williamstown, MA
About the work:
There's a famous quote by the great American experimental composer Charles Ives. Purportedly, after hearing a music critic scoff at a particularly dissonant piece during a concert, Ives turned around and admonished him: "Why don't you stand up before fine strong music like this and use your ears like a man!"
Like a Man is scored for, among other things, a handbell choir and strings playing only harmonics. Certainly these delicate, crystalline sounds aren't like those that displeased the music critic nearly a century ago. But a century of extroverted dissonance is enough to ensure that that dissonance no longer shocks, surprises or is enough in of itself to create interest. I've heard enough of empty, sabre-rattling, outwardly "masculine" music. The music that offers the greatest challenge to me as a listener looks inward, asks for my focus, calls attention to small details I've never considered.