Murdoch or Fred West – Which is best? (Reconsidered)

Smith, Dave

Sample page


Sample score





Flexible Ensemble


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About the work

Murdoch or Fred West -which is best? (Reconsidered) is a tribute to 2 composers: John White – composer of 138 piano sonatas, Newspaper reading manchine and a chamber work entitled Sun Reader; and Charles Ives who composed (or at least started) a piece entitled Gyp the Blood or Hearst – which is worst?, the title referring to a notorious murderer Harry Horowitz (alias Gyp the Blood) and the press magnate William Randolph Hearst. The opening vocal section is based on Ives’ comments about his own piece. His own view is unequivocal – ‘An old fashioned horse thief is a respectable man compared to Hearst’. This work was commissioned by CoMA with funds provided by South West Arts and CoMA Yorkshire and was given its first performance by CoMA Allcomers Ensemble (conducted by Simon Foxley) at Holy Trinity Church, Bath on 3 June 2000 as part of the Bath International Music Festival.

Technical notes

The performers are given a piece of text to mumble, emphasising particular syllables, and then have a series of fragments to play, and select them by spinning coins


COMA with funds from South West Arts and COMA Yorkshire