Budget Cuts is a satirical, theatrical piece aimed at insufficient arts funding. The movement subtitles make obvious allusion to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The first movement makes reference (with tongue firmly in cheek) to some Western Europe’s most cherished masterpieces as they might exist under today’s budget constraints. The second movement is a theme and variations for a septet played by three players and conductor. The three instrumentalists are made to double on parts for which they have no measurable skill. The conductor must play several instruments (hopefully not too well) in addition to conducting. The result is a lively display of musicianship underscoring the ridiculous demands placed on today’s overworked and underpaid performers. The last movement addresses the plight of the composer whose paltry funds necessitate spending minimal time composing. The construction of the piece is simple: a brief passage consisting of two descending scales (one major, one minor) in a constant rhythmical pattern. The expression of this simple design is made complex by a process of deselecting notes from the cascading scales in varied patterns. Hence, the composer succeeds in creating a piece in one sitting, justifying the measly sum offered for the creation of the piece.
Commissioned (without funds) by the Boston Musica Viva
CIRM, Centre National de Création Musicale
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