Rutherford B. Hayes

an anti-concerto for trombone and ensemble

"What is that fine line that divides art and junk?  I don't know, but I've been searching a long time and I haven't found an answer".  This was the opening speech that my friend Rob Zimmerman gave before the premiere of Vinnie music no. 1 [in 1995].  Since then, I think I have come upon many interesting conclusions about the definitions of art and junk (or in a sense, "pop").  Rutherford B. Hayes [like my opera,The Toilet], marks that vision or interest in "bad art" or equally, "good junk."  RBH is many things at once, and can be viewed at many levels.  First off, the piece was given the name of the 19th president of the United States of America, though the piece is not a "political" piece.  Secondly, the piece is also a concerto for trombone, though the score indicates that the soloist should not know how to play the trombone.  Third, the piece is actually a large "mega-mix" of 15-20 earlier works of mine, such as: To Boston For Sex, Learning to Love my Pancreas, The Plasticine Dreamer, gold bleeds gold and nothing it refuses, and also the prototype for this work, my violin concerto, Nothinghead.

Another interest I have had, which has taken a somewhat profound effect on this piece, is my continuing interest in pop-art, neo-surrealism and the virtual-non-existant-bullshit energy of television, radio, electronia, friends, enemies, ass-kissers, loves, ethos, pathos, religion, Oberlin and many other "issues" not included in this list.  This piece is dedicated 'to Them.'

Friday 13 November 1998
[Original Program Notes]


I. Defenestration Nocturne: Death Screams from the Window Above
II. Cadenza Virtuosico
III. Requiem: Cast Down Thy Sword and Ye Shall Create Mountains


Solo Trombone (must not know how to play the trombone)

Flute (doubles Piccolo), Oboe, Alto Saxophone, Trumpet in C, Trombone, Percussion: [Marimba, Xylophone, Vibraphone, Glockenspiel, Timpani, 2 Bongos, 5 Tomtoms, Snare Drum, Kick Drum, Bass Drum, Small Woodblock, Whip, Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, Triangle, Bell Tree, Brake Drum, 5 Japanese Temple Bells, Guïro, Flexatone], Pianoforte (also plays a large wooden box to be rammed with a 2x4), Harpsichord (also plays Toy Piano & Synthesizer), Violin, Viola, Violoncello, Contrabass 


24 Minutes


19 November 1998
Ensemble: Rocketchrist
Wally Scharold – Trombone Solo
Vin Calianno – Conductor
Warner Concert Hall — Oberlin, Ohio


The premiere of Rutherford B. Hayes in November 1998. Wally Scharold is playing the trombone.