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Moriarty's Necktie

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Matthew C. Saunders

Matthew Saunders

General Info

Year: 2011
Duration: c. 10:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Self-published
Cost: Score and Parts - $100.00   |   Score Only - $10.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophones I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxohpone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V-VI, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bell Plate
  • Brake Drum
  • Cymbals (crash and suspended)
  • Drum Set
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Timpani
  • Tam-Tam (gong)
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells (Chimes)
  • Vibraphone
  • Whistle
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This work was commissioned by The Ohio State University with assistance from the Johnstone Fund for New Music for the 2011 Ohio State University Contemporary Music Festival in honor of Donald Harris. Moriarty's Necktie is a nine-minute homage to several literary and cultural sources, primarily the steampunk genre of science fiction, in which a world of steam-powered computers and clockwork cell-phones is imagined within the limits--imagined or actual--of Victorian-era technology.

The musical layering that takes place throughout the work is an allusion to the "gizmo" aspect of such technology, as embodied either in the proposed Analytical Engine of Charles Babbage or the ridiculously complex better mousetraps invented by Rube Goldberg. Time and again, the machine of the piece is set spinning, only to come to a halt, whether from a single defect or merely the accumulated friction of a myriad of moving parts. The title of the piece refers to not one but two characters named Moriarty. The first, Dr. James Moriarty, was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Napoleon of Crime," a super-villain lurking in the shadows of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and a character who has fascinated later contributors to the Holmes "canon." The composer confesses to being less a fan of Sherlock Holmes than of James Moriarty, first encountering this murky figure in an episode of Star Trek, where he is craftily imprisoned by the crew in a tiny virtual universe, but not before wreaking havoc on the ship.

If James Moriarty had descendants, perhaps one of them would be Dean Moriarty, the human catalyst in Jack Kerouac's iconic On the Road. Dean Moriarty slumps in the the piece in a somewhat ludicrous fashion, then breezes out just as quickly, thumbing his nose at his great-uncle's delusions of grandeur. The composer is less a fan of Dean Moriarty; my tenth-grade English teacher was right: there are a lot of dirty words in On the Road. The necktie in the title was initially just a good-sounding word, but the composer recalls a tietack belonging to his father in the mid-1980s that was made from a microprocessor chip. James Moriarty's necktie would be something just as complex and certainly more lethal.

-Program Note by the Composer



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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • West Texas A&M Symphonic Band (Gary Garner, conductor) - October 2012
  • West Texas A&M Band Camp Directors Band (Gary Garner, conductor) - July 2012
  • Ohio State University Symphonic Band (Milt Allen, conductor) - May 2011
  • Ohio State University Symphonic Band (Milt Allen, conductor) - April 2011 *WORLD PREMIERE*

Works for Winds by This Composer