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Program Notes

Every time I read the works of H. P. Lovecraft, I hear in my head a music that is yet to be. I don’t think I’ve ever had this kind of near-synesthetic response to the works of any other author, but there is something about Lovecraft’s language and mood that sets in my mind a type of music that I feel compelled to write. When the opportunity came to write a work for two Contrabass Sarrusophones, I went back and re-read Lovecraft’s most famous work, “The Call of Cthulhu.” I could think of no instrument better suited to portray a monster of god-like proportions than a sarrusophone with its almost devilish timbre and depth. As you listen to the work, try to imagine the sunken city of R’lyeh in the most remote and inaccessible part of the ocean where Cthulhu waits both dead and dreaming. Imagine the sound of the chanting of the cults who have long worshiped Cthulhu in secret. Imagine the dread as the walls of the city arise out of the depths only to disappear as all who see them descend into madness.


Performance Notes

The two players should be on opposite sides of the stage as far from one another as possible. The hall should be in complete darkness save for the lights of the players’ stands. The vowels above the notes indicate what mouth shape to use in order to enforce certain upper harmonics. All tremolo markings are flutter tongued. If possible, all tempos should be exaggerated – the slows made slower and the fasts made faster. A sense of drama is key. Over-exaggerate everything.

Fhtagn for two Contrabass Sarrusophones

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