automaton for 8-string electric guitar, piano and 5 percussionists

duration:  19 minutes

Premiered on October 26th, 2014 in Madison, WI by Clocks in Motion with Anthony Lanman as soloist

Commissioned by Clocks In Motion

automaton is a concerto for 8-string electric guitar and percussion in three movements:

I. Watchmaker’s Daydream
II. Workshop/Steam
III. …In Motion

I imagined a lonely watchmaker in his small workshop. A well-meaning man who dreamed of doing bigger things to help his fellow people and his world. One day, he fell asleep at his workbench and had a fantastic dream of a large and benevolent automaton. He saw himself constructing it, and witnessed the great deeds that the mighty machine would carry out. He set to work that very night and worked for months on end until the work was finished. However, once unleashed, the automaton had ideas of its own!

I usually don’t work from such a specific story line – especially for my instrumental music, but the group Clocks in Motion – that name – it just inspired this whole set of images and this narrative in my head. From the guitar solo standpoint, I wanted to incorporate the myriad of techniques and styles that have become part of my playing over the years. This includes some electric guitar “shredding” techniques – especially used in the first movement – classical guitar and renaissance lute techniques which make up the bulk of the second movement – and heavy metal and contemporary classical techniques in the third.

The piece also incorporates directed stage movement and sections of improvisation – elements that are new to me (as far as incorporating them into my own music). This was an amazing project for me, and I hope to be able to perform it again many times.

AUDIO: Cadenza from Movement I – Anthony Joseph Lanman, 8-String Electric Guitar

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