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Gathering Starflowers: A Music Drama for 2 Pianos

Digital Sheet Music

By Chris Gordon

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2 Pianos (or other keyboards) - Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by Chris Gordon. Contemporary Classical. Score. 27 pages. Published by Cool Wind Music Digital (S0.168925).

Item Number: S0.168925

Gathering Starflowers distils, in the form of a symphonic poem interspersed with narratives commenting on the story, elements of Günter Grass’ 1969 novel - Local Anaesthetic - itself a powerful satirical polemic on the futility and wastefulness of war. In his novel, Grass has two of his characters, who lived through the 1939-1945 war as teenagers, continually relive it and relive major battles of the campaign in the East to overcome the Red Army and win Russia for the German Reich.

Gathering Starflowers is written to be performed as a melodrama. A 'drama with music'. The drama will be provided by a narrator who will read excerpts from Local Anaesthetic interspersed with dramatic dialogues from which the audience will learn a little about the main protagonists of Günter Grass’ novel. The music, especially composed by Chris Gordon, is for two pianos.

Please note: this volume contains only the music for 2 pianos for Gathering Starflowers.

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Sample programme note

Gathering Starflowers - music for two pianos by Chris Gordon

The weary tread of German soldiers marching into Russian captivity in 1945 and the even more weary tread of those few survivors marching back to Germany in 1955. Their marching sings out ‘Linde, Linde’, the pet name of Sieglinde, daughter of German General Krings, military tactician of talent and flair who didn’t believe the Russians possessed overwhelming tank (Panzer) resources with which the Russians routed the Wehrmacht Panzer Divisions at the Battle of Kursk - the largest tank battle ever fought. Linde, mocking her father as his poor soldiers march away to Siberia - Linde, the superior military tactician who beats her father at his own game, the game the Germans used to love to play, war, over and over again, as he tries to figure out where on earth he went wrong, never to find out!

And, as a poignant counterpoint to all this mayhem and horrible murder: young Flip’s extended rage with interpolated, encapsulated blues - these two strands eventually merging to become a softly-spoken outrage against war and the Vietnam War in particular. Yes, war is a human abomination but to a 17-year old young man in West Berlin in 1967 it is more than that - it is a blasphemous and diabolical calumny perpetrated by an obscenely rich élite (an élite without éclat, it could be said) upon the rest of a mainly innocent, trusting, peaceful Humanity.

Gathering Starflowers has 2 movements. The first movement is a character portrait of Eberhart Starusch (Hardy), junior high school history teacher and amateur philosopher. (He is no match, as a philosopher, for his dentist, to whom Hardy  is compelled by toothache to visit frequently.) It contains, as does Hardy, remnants of Germany’s militaristic past (in the form of military marches), reflective Brahms-like ‘pools of soul-searching tranquility’, hidden messages in Morse code from Flip, one of his high school students and, throughout, the tramp. tramp, tramp, of ghostly soldiers marching into and out of Soviet captivity calling Linde, Linde as they march - Linde the ‘general’ who would not have allowed the tragedy of the destruction of the German Eastern Armies to have happened! Linde, the superior tactician, able to conquer any place and any heart on earth! (But the latter conquests, real or imaginary is another story.)

The second movement is all about Flip, the young man determined to show Berlin that war is wrong, war is stupid, by burning his poor little Dachshund, Max, outside Kempinski’s Café on the Kurfürstendamm. Hardy tries to stop him but dealing with Flip is an exhausting business requiring more and more trips to his dentist and lavish  helpings of painkillers and vodka. Not really a happy combination but Flip makes Hardy desperate. Flip like playing the guitar and he likes singing the blues (the music of the down-trodden, as he might put it) and so there is a blues (in 7/8 time) in Flip’s music, contrasting a furious flow of raging torrent (in 12/8 time) which symbolises Flip’s anger at war and those who wage war. Flip’s music (as does his anger) eventually subsides and changes into a paean of praise to peace, yet even that music is counterpointed by the tread, tread, tread of the ghostly soldiers now lost forever to the world, physically and spiritually. The 3 characters from Günter Grass’ novel, Local Anaesthetic, are heard at the very end of Gathering Starflowers as three chords: B major for Hardy, F major for Flip and E major for Linde while, the slow march of the German armies who were ‘sacrificed’ on the Russian front disappear into the aether - so ending the music as it began.

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