Killjoy: III. Clock Work
I first met percussionist/composer Gene Koshinski at a summer music festival in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
A few years later, I had the chance to perform with his ensemble: Quey Percussion Duo.
As I worked with Gene over the years, I was struck by his creativity and willingness to explore new sounds as a composer. It wasn’t too long before I was asking him to consider creating a work for the guitar. I’m thrilled he said yes.
A few words from Gene about the piece:
“Killjoy is scored for guitar and percussion (duo) and was commissioned by guitarist Zane Forshee. When I was approached by Zane Forshee to compose this piece, he asked me to base the work on material or an idea(s) drawn from a book or other form of literature. I found it appropriate to choose a children’s story due to his new found role as a parent himself. This led me to the story of Cinderella, which has stood the test of time, entertaining children and adults alike, generation after generation. At the heart of the story is the clock tower. As the clock strikes midnight, it ends Cinderella’s time at the Prince’s ball and her fairy Godmother’s magical spell. In the story, the clock assumes the role of an antagonist (which, in real life, is something we can all relate to).
The title is derived from the Disney film adaptation of the story. In this version, Cinderella is awaked by the clock – foreshadowing the role of this antagonist. At this moment Cinderella exclaims:
Oh, that clock! Old killjoy.
I hear you. Come on, get up, you say.
Time to start another day.
Even he orders me around.
Well, there’s one thing.
They can’t order me to stop dreaming.
Killjoy explores the sounds of clocks, utilizing their musical value as a starting point. In essence, the work is a collection of variations on themes provided by various clocks where, in many cases, the “theme” is never actually stated. The first movement focuses on the stereotypical “tick-tock” of the clock. The second movement depicts a sweet lullaby that plays at the top of every hour. The final movement brings the listener inside the clock. When I was writing this, I had the vision of a mouse scampering from “room” to “room” inside a massive clock, the music magnifying the mechanical sounds of the inner workings of such a precise device.”