This composition for solo tuba forms part of Francis Schwartz’s “Literary Bagatelles;” a body of music-theater works inspired by literary creations of such authors as Thomas Mann, Miguel de Cervantes, Shakespeare, Rosario Ferre, Edgar Allan Poe and Cormac McCarthy.
Written in 2007 for the distinguished tubist Jay Hunsberger, “The Grey Road” explores the dark, forbidding atmosphere that permeates McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize novel as well as the dramatic climate exhibited in the paintings of Anselm Kiefer, Francis Bacon and Max Neuman. Schwartz utilizes unconventional performance techniques that include histrionic elements to establish a tense, brooding ambiance evocative of a post-cataclysmic world.
Though “The Grey Road” can be performed in a traditional venue, it is originally conceived to be executed in a multi-sensorial space where aromas and temperature manipulation can be realized as an integral part of the score. This multi-sensorial approach forms part of Schwartz’ four decade strategy to maximize audience participation in an Artwork by employing sensorial provocations. The public is not meant to be passive consumers of the Literary Bagatelles.