"I need to experience that fundamental tick"
— John Adams
John Adams erklärt das Stück:
It's not an easy piece to play. But it's a lot of fun.
It makes a huge noise.
How does it make such noise?
Well. There are a lot of drums. There are a lot of trumpets. There are brass, there's synthesizers... There must be thirty, maybe even fourty string players.
And everyone's playing... at the same time.
It's a heavenly racket.
There are literally tens of thousands of notes in this short four-minute piece... It doesn't seem possible.
And each one of these bars has all the music I've written, for the piccolo, and the flute and the english horn and the horns and the trumpet and tuba and here are all the percussion parts and here are the string parts
and yet the music flies by
each one of these bars takes less than a second to perform
so the conductor's busy keeping time, trying to hold the orchestra together, because the orchestra relies... on his... beat... So he's having to think: YietataTatataTatataTatataTatataTatataTatataTataTata....
The tempo marking is marked "delirious"... and the feeling of delirium starts with the wood block.
It simply ticks away
A pulse that never changes
as the piece goes on
In a certain sense, the rest of the orchestra has to fit all of its crazy music to this pulse.
It's a tick tock sound, almost as if it were a clock that we're starting this journey out.
The whole piece in a way is built up of these little ... figures
it's like building a huge building out of little tiny bricks.
What's so much fun about composing, is being able to take two very different things and making them live together.
So in this piece, we have a short ticking of the woodblock, and after that, I put something in I call the Noodles.
The Noodles are this kind of gurgling, bubbling sound that we hear in the clarinets and in the synthesizers:
and that too continues all the way through the piece.
So in a sense we have have the ticking on one hand and we have the the gurgling noodles on the other.
. . .