“Scraping Song” was written for my friend Steven Schick. In some way it is meant to be a lyrical companion to my piece “The Anvil Chorus,” which I also wrote for Steve, and it comes directly out of two musical memories I have of him.
The first memory is from right after we met, in graduate school in 1978, when I watched Steve audition many different guiros for a performance of Stockhausen’s “Zyklus.” Steve treated each guiro as if it were a violin, drawing from each an expressive range I never realized a percussion instrument could have.
The second memory is more recent, from Bang on a Can’s arrangement of Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports.” In the recording session I asked him to scrape a brake drum slowly around its rim. The resulting sound was so rich that I knew I would write a solo work about it.
– David Lang
Annotated by Mike Daley