People Are Saying

Duration: 5'

Instrumentation: piano

Program Notes:

One of the strangest (of many) verbal tics that I have noticed about 45 is his constant and insistent use of the phrase "people are saying." He often uses the phrase (and several variations of it) to preface any number of the bald-faced lies, ad hominem attacks, or straight-up fabrications that he spews nonstop. It serves a dual purpose as a delivery system for whatever baseless claim that he wishes to push out into the world, as well as a means of plausible deniability that these are in fact his own words; after all, he's only repeating what "people" are saying. The phrase is also meant to lend a sort of faux-populist credence to his words creating the erroneous impression that he is representing the will of said "people," as if parroting the nebulous statements of an imaginary amorphous mob somehow bolsters this claim. He repeats it so much that it becomes a sort of mantra, a chant that symbolizes the dishonesty, venality, and unrepentant cruelty of his regime.

"People Are Saying" seeks to recreate 45's pet phrase through heavy repetition of a singular musical motive. This motive follows the syllable count of the phrase "a lot of people are saying," which eventually shortens to "people are saying," and appears constantly throughout the piece. It is varied continuously, being folded, unfolded, displaced, chopped up, overlapped, shifted, and reconfigured. Much like 45's own speech patterns, the motive is frequently interrupted as the music gets distracted and veers off wildly in random directions. As the interruptions become more and more frequent, the motive becomes more and more frustrated, until the piece comes to a bombastic conclusion.

"People Are Saying" was commissioned by pianist Nick Phillips as part of the #45miniatures project.

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