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David Clay Mettens

David Clay Mettens

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General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 15:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Unknown
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone I-II
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV-V-VI
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-VI

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

I wrote Un-Masqued over the summer of 2019, in a high-water moment of LGBTQ representation in mainstream media and corporate advertising campaigns for June Pride month. More than ever, it seemed like society at large was eager to participate in commemorations of the 1969 Stonewall Riots that precipitated our modern celebrations of Pride. However, this year’s anniversary also coincided with major Supreme Court cases that will rule on issues of workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Even as corporate culture embraced aspects of the LGBTQ community, our job security and material stability teeter precariously in the balance of the court’s new conservative majority.

Precarity is hardly a new experience for the queer community. The history of LGBTQ activism is fractious and messy, tangled with competing agendas and methods of protest. In modern retellings, we have oversimplified and tidied this history by claiming Stonewall as its foundational moment. While the riots were critical in bringing this cause to the attention of a wider public, a number of activist groups -- East Coast Homophile Organization, Janus Society, and Daughters of Bilitis -- were already advocating for change throughout the 1950s. One such organization, the Mattachine Society, took its name from the French Renaissance Société Mattachine, a group of masked performers who used their anonymity to stage theatrical protests against oppression. Throughout the early twentieth century, police raids on mafia-owned establishments that catered to queer patrons were commonplace. Police arrests -- often singling out patrons who didn’t dress according to gender norms -- were a constant threat to those who couldn’t (or refused to) hide behind a mask of heteronormativity.

My piece explores these past and present precarities. It begins as a party, with bright, ecstatic music for large groups of the ensemble. One by one, smaller groups of instruments refuse to conform to this music’s rigid harmonic and rhythmic structures. They emerge from behind figurative masks -- the rapidly moving triadic harmonies and rhythmic grid -- to reveal unusual tunings and tone colors, and the piece careens towards a riot. A slower middle section features solo instruments weaving together to create a chameleon-like melodic line. The unmasked instruments regroup into new consorts that play in closer and closer alternation, eventually reprising the opening idea in a multicolored collage of their unique identities. The alternate tunings and timbres that once threatened to tear the piece apart return in a more harmonious coexistence. For the coda, a new set of timbral transformations renders the opening music distant and diffuse, like an echo of a far away (or long ago) celebration.

Un-Masqued was commissioned by Kevin Holzman and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

- Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony (Kevin Michael Holzman, conductor) – 26 November 2019 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by this Composer