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The Dead Hand Wanders

Instrumentation: two alto saxophones, double bass, percussion

Year: 2021 | Duration: 4'40"

Written for Margaret Atwood's visit to UNCG

Performed by:
Steve Stusek & Phillip Black, alto saxophone
Lorenzo Nigrelli, double bass
Xin Yin, percussion

Program Note: The Dead Hand Wanders is inspired by Margaret Atwood’s short story The Dead Hand Loves You. In this story, an elderly writer reflects on the one horror novel he wrote about a disembodied hand that made him a success. In addition to the writer’s story, we also get his story within the story; the comical, macabre, slightly sexist in an old fashioned way (as the writer himself is), satisfying tale of the disembodied hand of a jilted man, hell-bent on tormenting its ex-lover. The image in my mind while writing this piece was of the hand scuttling around, fingers functioning as five tiny legs, like a grotesque flesh spider. Could the hand break free of the fragile ego of its former owner? What would it do on its own? What if it found some greater, loftier purpose? How would it avoid detection? This piece is a theme for the hand.