Reality Intrudes Upon the Comfort of the Rich

29/10/97 for loud ensemble and assistant conductor

Composer’s note

A conceptual piece, in the form of a text. Here is the complete score;

Reality Intrudes Upon the Comfort of the Rich
for Loud Ensemble and Assistant Conductor
by J. Simon van der Walt 29/10/97


This text comprises the full score for ‘Reality Intrudes Upon the Comfort of the Rich’, by J. Simon van der Walt. A loud ensemble of instruments share the platform with a classical ensemble during a concert or recital of classical music. Periodically, led by cues from an assistant conductor, the ensemble perform one of three loud ‘intrusions’. These may occur at any time; preferably during favourite melodies, poignant moments etc of the other ensemble. This activity continues throughout the concert.


The work requires a ‘loud ensemble’. Unpitched instruments and voices are excluded. I suggest at least five instruments drawn from the following list;

Any saxophone (hard jazz/pop sound, not classical)
Electric fiddle, viola, cello
Electric bass
Electric guitar (all electric instruments must be individually amplified)

Assistant conductor

The assistant conductor rehearses the ensemble intrusions, and cues them in during performance. They should be infrequent and few in number; an entire piece or movement may be allowed to pass without interruption. Please feel free to intrude upon solo entrances, heartfelt slow movements, endings, audience applause etc.


There are three possible intrusions, which are cued in by hand signals (scissors, paper, stone) by the assistant conductor. As a preparation, the ensemble instrumentalists should write out, in an appropriate range for their instrument, two octaves or so, descending, of the following two scales;
Octatonic scale; C Bb A G Gb E Eb Db C
Augmented scale; C A Ab E Eb C

Intrusion 1; hand symbol ‘paper’
Fortissimo possible
Choose either scale
Start on any note and descend approx 2 octaves; omit notes as desired
Start quickly but then rall. molto
Start together on cue, but thereafter do not synchronise with other players
Tenuto or legato

Intrusion 2; hand symbol ‘stone’

Same as intrusion 1 in every detail except tempo, which is constant, chosen and given by conductor, and articulation. Conductor gives upbeat and then 7 – 15 beats in no particular time signature. Players synchronise. Articulation is molto marcato. Repeat bottom note if you run out of notes.

Intrusion 3; hand symbol ‘scissors’
Piano sostenuto
Choose any pitch from either scale
Sustain until brought off by conductor (tremolando if necessary)

Do not play two intrusions in the same way; pick different scales, pitches etc

Other points

The loud ensemble & assistant conductor should dress casually in ordinary clothes.

If possible recruit the loud ensemble and assistant conductor from out-of-work, semi-professional or student musicians; they are to be paid the same rates as the other ensemble, however.

If the ensemble are able to memorise the scalic materials and perform without music, so much the better.

It might be interesting to locate the assistant conductor within view of the loud ensemble, but out of sight of the other ensemble. Closed-circuit TV?


This work is copyright J. Simon van der Walt 29/10/97. It may be freely distributed by any means, provided that the text remain complete and unaltered.

Notification of performance

The performing rights to this work are assigned to the Performing Rights Society Limited, 29/33 Berner’s Street, London. Out of courtesy, please notify performances of the work to me at the address below. Please try to spell my name correctly on the programme; the initial ‘J’ must not be omitted.

Performance history

As at 18/02/2001, unperformed.


Please e-mail J. Simon van der Walt care of;


My web page is at;

Should this fail I can be contacted through the Scottish Music Centre, City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow,

Version 1.3



Duration indeterminate