Mirta Narosky–”Elf-Cio” (Harper’s, February 2008)

(Field Recordings, January 12, 2012). 

This is a lengthy Field Recording [Mantra: Post-Minimalist Percussion In Aisle 12].  It has some interruptions by one of the guys.  Then he talks about how they have set up the board–suspending it on pegs.

There’s something primeval about guys banging on wood. But the New York percussion group Mantra takes such primitive pounding to a surprisingly refined level. For composer Michael Gordon’s mesmerizing new work — Timber, written for six two-by-fours — Mantra set up a public performance of the piece in the lumber department of a big-box hardware store in Alexandria, Va. Who knew 60 inches of processed pine could sound so good?

It’s unclear how long the piece is since there are constant interruptions.   Although it does run for about 2 and a half minutes uninterrupted.

For the most part the six players play a constant rhythm that creates overtones and resonances.  It’s a little monotonous until one of the starts to play a slightly different rhythm.  And by the end, there’s a couple of different rhythms that make it sound even better.

It’s a neat piece and would be fun to walk unto a hardware store and see that.

[READ: January 22, 2018] “Elf-Cio”

This is from a children’s book called Elves for Dignity.  It was published by a worker’s cooperative in Buenos Aires–one of 170 worker-run businesses in Argentina. The piece was translated by Burke Butler.

Once upon a time there was a greedy and merciless King.  One morning he awoke with the idea of converting one of his palaces into a hotel.  He hired a legion of elves whom he considered selfless and docile. They all abandoned their markets and farms to serve the King.

They worked night and day to ensure the splendor of the hotel.

But one day the King was cranky and he closed the doors of the hotel, leaving the elves on the street.

The elves met and discussed what to do.  Some were afraid but others organized with picks and shovels and they forced open the door.

It was a daunting prospect.  And there was much arguing. But they slowly began to work.  They lit the lights and frightened off the shadows.

When the King returned the elves would no longer bow.  The King was furious

He agreed to a meeting assuming he would crush them, but a defiant Elf spoke up about how they were going to reopen the hotel. This threw off the King.  He was disoriented and departed silently.

Reporters came and as news of the uprising spread, Kings everywhere looked on in fear.

This entry was posted in English. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.