Adam B. Silverman, Smelting Solid Gold (2000)

Adam B. Silverman has written music for classical ensembles, a children's cartoon, rock bands, and is currently writing a choral symphony for more than 150 musicians between the ages of 14 and 18. He lived in seven cities during the 1990's, and now lives in New York City. He provides the following note for Smelting Solid Gold:

In one of the Superman movies (I forget which), a piece of Kryptonite is smelted, its components analyzed to determine its makeup. The evil Lex Luthor (assisted by a dimwitted assistant played by Richard Pryor) then tries to manufacture the Superlethal substance, but fails due to Pryor's substitution of tar for a key ingredient. The resulting substance is not kryptonite, but is instead a strange relative that does not kill Superman but instead darkens his costume, musses his hair and turns him evil.

My work Smelting Solid Gold is to James Brown what this un-kryptonite is to Superman. It takes basic elements from the drum and baritone sax parts of fifteen James Brown songs, but misses the point altogether by playing each measure once before moving on. The result is a sort of malfunctioning funk machine that never quite finds its groove. The added ingredient, analogous to Pryor's tar, is freely composed material that occupies the vast expanses of rests found in the bari sax parts of James Brown's music.

This piece is dedicated to The yesaroun' Duo for asking me to write it, and to Dennis DeSantis for teaching me about the merits of broken-down funk.


© Yesaroun' Duo

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