Cranks and Cactus Needles
for flute, piano, violin, and cello(2000)
|Commissioned by "The Pearls Before Swine Experience" for ISCM World Music Days
|September 2000; ISCM World Music Days, Luxembourg; The Pearls Before Swine Experience
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.
– Annie Gosfield