Hens Flying Overhead
Martin Butler and I were in graduate school together, and Martin -- being
a very accomplished pianist -- asked if I would write a piece for him
to perform on an upcoming solo concert. I recall him saying "Give it
a lot of flash... make it a real barn-burner of a piece!" Little did
he realize that I would subject him to pages and pages of nonstop
16th notes at high tempo. I was inspired by the hammered dulcimer
players I had heard at bluegrass festivals in my youth, and I'm
not sure how much Martin appreciated my turning his hands into
He seemed to anjoy the physical abuse, however, And he did an
amazing job performing it. Somewhere I have a tape of the concert;
I hope I can locate it.
(music here if I can find it)
2018 comment: I found the music! While packing up to move from
Roosevelt to New York/Whidbey Island, I found many tapes. One of the
cassettes was labelled "Martin Piano (me)" and it had a recording
of this piece. It's dubbed from cassette, but the quality isn't
too bad. Somewhere I believe I have a DAT tape that was made from
the PCM F1 master recording. If I ever find it (and it still
plays), I'll put it up. But in the meantime, happy listening!
It was fun to be that young, back then.