Afternoon Delight is a daily diversion for when you’re just back from lunch, but not quite ready to get back to work. Check back Wednesday at 1 p.m. for another one.
The full musical piece is called the Faerie’s Aire and Death Waltz by John Stump, who, if this website is to be believed, was a composer who died five years ago. Stump excelled at decidedly eccentric musical notation somewhat akin to George Crumb’s famous Makrokosmos — although one suspects Crumb never included such Frank Zappa-ish directions as “release the penguins,” “insert peanuts” and “the Lakers in 6.”
Judging from Stump’s ‘Death Waltz’ score (you can enlarge it at left) — which has become rather influential on the web — the waltz as played in the video above actually isn’t Stump’s. In fact, it’s not even a waltz; as you can see clearly in the video’s notation, it’s in 4/4 time. And though fun, it’s not nearly crazy enough. It’s simple really — nothing more than a repeated, rather catchy stairstep melody on a keyboard.
And then, ’round about bar 90, you’ll need 42 hammer-fingers powered by a Lisztian hyperdrive to keep up with all the chords. Should be made a required audition piece for the next Cliburn competition, you think?
Stump’s other scores — such as Prelude and the Last Hope in C and C# Minor from the opera Marche de l’Oie (translated as March of the Ducks – although l’oie actually is French for goose) –– can be purchased here.