The Devil’s Handyman

(2002)
Inspired by works of H. C. Westermann, sculptor.
* Spike Jones “was an American musician and bandleader specializing in spoof arrangements of popular songs and classical music. Ballads receiving the Jones treatment were punctuated with gunshots, whistles, cowbells and outlandish and comedic vocals.” — Wikipedia, “Spike Jones

Audio Excerpts

III. Machine Dedicated to Spike Jones * (20th Century Consort)
XI. Abandoned Death Ship of No Port with a List (20th Century Consort)

Press for “The Devil’s Handyman ”

“Thomas Albert’s ‘The Devil’s Handyman’ trumped even Spike Jones in offering swing music that won’t swing, deconstructed jingles and devastating parodies of musical form.”

– The Washington Post
“Albert’s eclectic piece concluded the evening strongly. A series of movements in response to bizarre and humorous sculptures by artist H. C. Westermann (which were projected on a screen), its descriptive music was often hilarious, in the manner of P.D.Q. Bach, including musicians vying with each other for control of a piece in one movement. Here, finally, the balance between theater and music was achieved.”

– Pittsburgh Post Gazette
“‘The Devil’s Handyman’ by Thomas Albert provided humor in the musical finale… from absurd percussion excesses to a silly “let’s get everyone involved” arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Air on a G string.” Albert’s expressive range encompassed much more fun, including a brutal percussion ensemble number and ominous mists of sound.”

– Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Instrumentation
Duration
22:00
Premiere
Hirschhorn Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, March 2002

20th Century Consort, Christopher Kendall, artistic director: Sara Stern, flutes; Paul Cigan, clarinets; Elisabeth Adkins, violin & viola; Rachel Young, cello; Tom Jones, percussion; Lisa Emenheiser, piano
Commission
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