The Compositional Process for “A Peculiar Evil: A History of Silencing Expression in America”
Music for “A Peculiar Evil” parallels the text as it progresses through its time line. The instrumentation was set for a traditional brass quintet allowing the piece to be accessible for multiple performances, while representing the bold nature of text. A drum set player was added to the group to act as a director of sorts.
The main melodic theme, which is stated in the beginning as it passes between the two trumpet players, is derived from the original National Anthem, which was written by William Billings and entitled “Chester.” Throughout the entirety of this piece, this theme is manipulated and slowly transformed at the end into the National Anthem we know and love, written by Francis Scott Key and entitled “The Star Spangled Banner.”
The strong rhythmic undertones throughout derive from a traditional executioner’s march to symbolize the many citizens who sacrificed to defend what they believed in, albeit potentially marching toward their own execution. Finally, many patriotic American tunes are altered to conform to the free expression of the text it is suppose to represent and are darkened to express the daunting undertone of the message.Download the Peculiar Evil Musical Score