John Adams. Gnarly Buttons, for clarinet & ensemble. Composition Information ↓ ; Description ↓; Parts/Movements ↓; Appears On ↓. Share on. facebook. Buy Gnarly Buttons (Full Score) by John Adams at Orchestra Sheet Music. For clarinet and small orchestra. First Printing. Edition for. The whole work is a reference to the “gnarly buttons” found on old tree bark: “your basic elder’s walking-stick” according to Adams.
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Gnarly Buttons, for clarinet & ensemble
The clarinet was my first instrument. I learned it from my father, who played it in small swing bands in New England during the Depression era.
He was my first and most important teacher, sitting in the front room with me, patiently counting out rhythms and checking my embouchure and fingering. Benny Goodman was a role model, and several of his recordings—in particular the Carnegie Hall jazz concert and a Mozart album with the Boston Symphony Orchestra—were played so often in the house that they almost became part of the furniture.
Gnarly Buttons – Wikipedia
During my high school years I played the instrument alongside him in a small community orchestra that gave concerts before an audience of mental patients at the New Hampshire State Hospital.
But strangely enough, I never composed for the instrument until I was almost fifty. Finally, one day, my mother found the disassembled instruments hidden gnadly a hamper of laundry. The horns were sent to me in California where they grew dusty and stiff, sitting in bttons closet.
Gnarly Buttons, for clarinet &… | Details | AllMusic
The scoring underlines the folk and vernacular roots of the music: In American school kid parlance it takes on additional connotations of something to be admired: The “buttons” are probably lingering in my mind from Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons,” but my evoking them here also acknowledges our lives at the end of the 20th century as being largely given over to pressing buttons of one sort or another.
NB; clarinets have rings and keys, not buttons.
The three movements are eached based on a “forgery” or imagined musical model. The idea for this goes back to the imagined “foxtrot” of my piece, The Chairman Dances, music to which Madame gnaly Chairman Mao dance and make love, believing my foxtrot to be the genuine article.
In this spirit we may believe the genuine articles of Gnarly Buttons to be: O Lord steer me from that Perilous Shore Ease my soul through tempest’s roar. Satan’s leering buttobs me firmly turn away Hurl me singing into that tremulous day!
The melodic line is twisted and embellished from the start, appearing first in monody and eventually providing both micro and macro material for the ensuing musical structures.
This program note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with a credit to the composer. Home Composers Catalogue Detail.
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