My Manifesto and Me for alto and tenor saxophones (2016)
The Rifleman’s Creed very effectively anthropomorphizes a rifle as a way to inculcate soldiers to be as proficient and knowledgeable as possible when handling their weapons. It is, and not in some abstract or metaphysical way, a matter of life and death. A famous recitation of the creed occurs in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 film, Full Metal Jacket.
For this piece, I have maintained the structure of the Rifleman’s Creed but changed much of the content. Most significantly, “my rifle” becomes “my Manifesto”. It is not a piece about guns or the army, per se. Just as the rifle is treated like something that takes life to save life, an object that is almost human, I portray “my Manifesto” as something that one uses to protect themselves, justify attacking others, maintain narrowmindedness, and to define exclusivity. The “Manifesto” is simply any set of strongly held beliefs that will not change, regardless of what the available alternatives offer.
In performance, the saxophone players speak the text in the role of true believers, reinforcing their love for the undefined “Manifesto” through compulsive, emphatic musical gestures and self-convinced vocal proclamations. The coda of the piece is a quiet reflection on the following quote from Albert Camus "Notebooks" (1937): “The need to be right is the sign of a vulgar mind.”