Cranks and Cactus Needles
version for piano trio(2000; trio version 2016)
|Commission||Commissioned by "The Pearls Before Swine Experience" for ISCM World Music Days|
|Premiere||November 8, 2016; Sixth London Festival of American Music, The Warehouse, London; The Pearls Before Swine Experience|
|Instrumentation||violin, cello, piano|
(Original version for flute and piano trio)
Cranks and Cactus Needles was inspired by the sound of ancient 78 RPM records, and the pops, scratches, skips, and warps that occur as they deteriorate. As to the title, "Cranks" refers to the crank handles of old record players that had to be wound up before a 78 could be played, and "Cactus Needles" are the sharp cactus spines that were sometimes used as cheap phonograph needles. The musicians are instructed to play the piece "distant and ghostly, like a victrola down the hall", and use uneven vibratos, imperfect repeats, and unpitched scrapes to evoke the decaying music of this anachronistic technology. The piece was commissioned for a premiere at ISCM World Music Days in Luxembourg by the Swedish ensemble "The Pearls Before Swine Experience", and developed with violinist George Kentros.
In 2016 Darragh Morgan and the Fidelio Trio requested a version of Cranks and Cactus Needles for piano trio. I was happy to oblige and they toured the piece in the US and UK.
– Annie Gosfield