No Man's Land is a musical setting which takes place in post nuclear apocalyptic Earth. The inspiration for the music, sounds and overall form of this piece came from over 100 hours of research. Videos and pictures of nuclear blasts, fallouts, before and after scenes aswell as researching nuclear winter, storms and radiation e)ects that would grip that world. Much of the research also involved a type of immersion into that world through movies set in that environment and documentaries. Last but certainly not least I spent a great many
hours just wandering around in virtual post nuclear worlds created in video games with Fallout IV accounting for the vast majority of that
The piece starts with the depiction of slow motion nuclear blasts. At first it is just the explosionds but at measure 11 the music starts to depict the famous slow motion videos from the 1940s of houses exploding, trees and power poles bending and soldier reactions to the blasts. At Measure 21 the music and direction of the piece shifts from a documentary musical commentation to that of actual existence in such a world; a world without civic structure, a world of survival and dominance of the strongest and most violent. A world where mini subcultural encampments and other small forms of civil unity would exist. The percussionists also plays a part in the theatrical immersion with the addition of 5 gallon plastic buckets, an iron skillet and large glass bottles filled with water. These added instruments represent the primal state life has taken. There are many instances within the piece that the music changes from a semi contemporary feel to a classic feel and back to contemporary. That is the musical expression of the physical and emotional mix of a world gone by with a world struggling to find its own new identity.
No matter how hard I tried I could not keep the emotional direction of the piece solely within this chaotic and violent world. I found beauty in the devastation and hope in the struggle. After all, life would still be life. Love, hate, sex, violence and everything inbetween would still exist. The struggle to survive and thrive not just in humans but in all living things would still be the driving force of our world. In the end No Man's Land became my nuclear New World Symphony in 8 minutes. Where there is life there is love and where there is love there is hope and with hope comes endless possibilites.
INSTRUMENTATION/Notes to the Conductor
The Contrabassoon, Eb Contra Alto Clarinet and Bb Contrabass Clarinet parts are all available. It is not necessary that you have all of those instruments but the piece is scored with the intent that you will have at least one of those instruments with the best scenario being that you have one of the clarinets listed AND a contrabassoon.
Percussion: You must have 9 percussionists. 1 Timpanist, 4 melodic players and 4 percussionists. The melodic 1-4 players only play melodic instruments and the percussion 1-4 only play percussion. 3 of the 4 percussion players will at one point play the bass drum. There is a bass drum part that can be printed and left on the bass drum stand for when the players rotate to that instrument. Otherwise they are stationed with their other instruments near to hand in their own "pod" setup.
THE MALLETS used for the plastic buckets, iron skillet and Glass Bottle are all the same. You are to use melodic mallets flipped around so the mallet head is in the palm or behind it and the opossite STICK end is what is used to hit the instruments with. The first(index) fingers are to be lined up with the stick & fully ON the sticks. ALWAYS using a choking technique I.E. the sticks are never bouncing on the buckets, bottle or skillet. (Snare stick are NOT to be used)
Plastic 5 Gallon Bucket should be upside down sitting on cloth covered low table or other hard surface. (not the floor, that is too low to be practical) Measures involving the arrows going up - staying level then going back down are pitch changing alterations by way of positiong of the stick where it contacts the bucket. Start out with the very end tip of the sticks on the rim. Gradually work your way from the end of the stick to a couple of inches away from your first fingers then back down moving WITH the lines above the notes. **Please refer to video**
Glass Bottle = 1.75 Liter Glass Bottle with Handle filled 3/4 with water. This bottle is the same type you would see containing the 1800 tequilla/ margarita mixed bottles. It also uses pitch changing e)ects by starting with the bottle upright then leaning it over to near horizontal positioning and back to upright. The tilting e)ect really means that the bottle MUST have a handle. The Iron skillet is a basic 10-14 inch iron skillet flipped over. It uses a 2 line sta), the top line is the edge, the bottom line is the center. The Iron Skillet ALSO uses the pitch changing technique of moving from the edge to the center and back out. The change in pitch is not nearly as dramatic as it is in the bottle or bucket.