Five Inanities


teufelwalzer-sch.mp3 A version of Teufelwalzer for four bassoons, from Schaduwee (1’55, 2.2 MB)
scam_inanities.mp3 An extract from The Society for Classical and Authentic Music; simultaneous versions of Jagdmazurka, Teufelwalzer and Stupid Tune, with overlaps between the bassoon and oboe versions, before being requested by the conductor to efface themselves (4’00, 4.6 MB)


diverses.pdf (725 KB)


9/12/2004 for brass 5tet or similar

Composer’s note

The Inanities mostly all work in the same way. We hear a merry, corny tune, which is repeated many times more perhaps than we want to hear it, but it sounds perfectly fine. Suddenly the music does a freeze frame on a particularly dodgy cadence – wait a minute! The harmony was wrong all along?!

I find myself having an ambivalent response to common notions of ‘tonality’ and ‘harmony’. I suspect that these constructs do not embody some eternal truth about ‘consonance’ and ‘dissonance’ and the harmonic series and all that guff, but rather a set of social conventions designed to perpetuate a privileged construction of ‘music’.

The work has a past and a future. The composer has a past and a future. I have abandoned the idea that each work must be a completely fresh invention, and feel free to make connections between one performance and the next. All of my recent work has included one or other of the five inanities, very often simultaneously with other material.


This collection of pieces has never been, and may never be performed by a brass quintet, although that is the ur-instrumentation. However, one or another of these pieces has appeared in almost all of my recent works;

Duration 4 days 33 minutes