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Variations Cello/Prepared Piano @ Bennington


Pianist Allen Shawn and cellist Nat Parke premiered a version of my Variations, for cello and prepared piano. Here’s the recording (and score). Notes from the performance:


“Every few years, I rewrite God Save the Queen/My Country Tis of Thee for what instruments are available: a theremin, kitchen utensils, maybe a piano. I’m interested in how that tune, each time that I rewrite it, can become both unrecognizable and relentlessly familiar. The tune has been an anthem for Barbados, Norway, New Zealand, the U.S., Liechtenstein, and many other countries. Like me, it has ambivalent patriotism and multiple citizenship. For this rewrite, I wrote mainly natural harmonics and extended techniques on the cello. The piano starts in equal temperament, but as more and more notes are added, it gradually transforms itself into gamelan, with detunings and swerving tempos.  Many thanks to Nat and Allen for their beautiful detail and patience through this first version.”