A page from the middle of When in Eternal Lines to Time
Thou Grow'st. The instrumentation in score order is
celeste, bass trombone, viola, electric mandolin, and three
percussionists, two dividing a single mallets part, and the
third playing a forest of 47 non-pitched instruments.
The non-pitched percussionist for all three performances of the
piece was Michael Ranta, who became my housemate for the summer
of my senior recital. Mike was tall, thin, and lithe -- poetry
in motion. He would play pieces like this by choreographing
them, so there was an element of theatrical motion in his
playing. I had to get his help in defining the instrumental
setup, and in working out what was possible in some places. I
took my cue in this from being with Sal Martirano during the
realization of his theatrical work Underworld, for
electronic tape with percussionists and string basses (two, as I
recall). I sat in the percussion studio a couple of evenings and
watched as he worked with percussionist Bill Parsons to assign
the instruments to the rhythms he'd written.
Notice the chopped off lines in the score. Simply dropping the
lines when there were rests was in vogue for a while. I believe
I first saw this done in Stravinsky's later music, but others
did it as well. In this case, the masters are music typed onto
transparencies, because that was how it was done in those days.
Therefore, to get the desired appearance, when the master was
completed, I had to go through with a razor blade and a ruler
and physically chop holes in the score.
I used to mail my originals to a place in Hollywood that
reproduced music for recording studios. They would take the
order, with a description of what you wanted, and would send you
back the finished product with a bill. Life was sure different
Naturally, they were thrilled to receive this package of doilies
to run through their machine. They sent me a very kind note
informing me that it was very difficult for them to do this work
without turning my masters into shreds.