THE STING OF COMMAND

Composer: 

Print Edition Price: 

$39 two scores (pianist, singer) plus set of parts

Year Authored (or revised): 

2002

Instrumentation : 

Baritone voice plus quartet of clarinet, violin, piano, double bass

Duration (min): 

5

Score is in C, except for octave transposition of contrabass
Descriptive note:
This song has been commissioned as part of a cabaret series presented by Sequitur, which biennially concentrates on specific themes; the cycle into which this work falls deals with “power”. Taking a concept from a work of Elias Canetti, I have crafted my own text. The piece falls into a recitative and aria form. ----Robert Carl

Elias Canetti, in his magisterial work, Crowds and Power, presents the concept of the “sting of command”. What is the sting? In every hierarchy, there is always one above all others. This one relays an order to the next one below, and with that order a “sting” is lodged. The only way to be rid of the sting is to pass it down to next lower on the chain of command. And so the sting travels through the structure, burning in one lieutenant after another, until it finally arrives at the poor soul who has no one left on whom to pin it. While the imagery is military, the concept applies to any organization--- political, industrial, cultural, familial.

Ensemble Type: 

solo voice(s)+2 to 6 instruments
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