Bass drum, snare drum, suspended cymbal, triangle, chimes (tubular bells), vibraphone, glockenspiel. One desk, such as an ordinary school desk, played on the surface with snare drum sticks. One gooseneck desk lamp with metal springs (the larger and more resonant, the better), played by scraping the springs with a coin or plucking them with a finger as directed.
Nov. 16, 2007, Ramo Auditorium, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
Caltech-Occidental Symphonic Band, Paul Asimow, Conductor
A light-hearted piece for concert band featuring some unusual percussion instruments. The music does not need a story, but if it did have one, then it might go something like this: A student has been having some difficulty concentrating on his homework. Idly playing with the springs on his desk lamp and hypnotized by the cool sound they make, he starts to doze off and dreams that the objects on his desk come to life and begin to march in circles around the desktop. As he drifts further into this strange dream, the wayward office supplies engage in ever more outlandish behaviour. He wakes abruptly after being threatened by an unusually militaristic paper clip.
Desktop Music No. 1 was premiered by the Caltech-Occidental Symphonic Band in November 2007.