by John Max McFarland
Instrumentation: Crotales (2 octaves), Xylophone, Vibraphone, Marimba—low C, Drums (bongos, congas, snare drum, concert toms*, concert bass drum, Cymbals & gongs (small splash cymbal, sizzle cymbal, hi-hat, trash-hat, loose cymbal for dropping, tam tam, opera gong), Accessories (suspended finger cymbals, mark tree, woodblock, tambourine**, 3 or 4 pairs of drumsticks for dropping, ratchet, bike horn, slide whistle, part blower, metal mixing bowl, acme siren, flexatone, vibraslap, train whistle), Electrolarynx® (optional), Tickle Me Elmo® Doll (not optional), 10 hole harmonica (in Bb major)
*Set of 4, plus one large tom tuned very low
In this work for two percussionists and mezzo-soprano, John Max McFarland sets five of his favorites from his The 365 Stupidest Things Ever Said Page-A-Day Calendar. Each of the songs in 5 Songs in the Age of Stupidity is a setting of a complete quote. Some are quite short (11 words), while others are a few sentences. The musical means are contemporary in nature, with a programmatic quality enhanced by a wide array of percussion instruments, noise makers, and toys (literally...start sucking up to your older sister so you can borrow her kid’s Tickle Me Elmo), some of which are played by the mezzo-soprano. And just as she has to stretch beyond her comfort zone, the two percussionists will have to bring more theatricality than is often required on the concert stage in this moderately difficult song cycle.
This piece comes with a full, bound score and includes all individual parts available for printing on the included CD-ROM.