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Promising Young Composer Dies Bizarre Death


by Peter Cherches


Promising Young Composer Dies Bizarre Death 

PETALUMA, California, Apr. 14—The body of composer Andrew McCall was found at his home in Petaluma, an apparent homicide, Sonoma County police officials report.

            Immediate cause of death has not yet been determined, but according to coroner Vincent Skeleti, “This is the most bizarre case I have come across in my twenty years of service. The flesh of the deceased had been expertly carved away from the bone and then replaced on the frame. The face of the deceased bore a pleased expression.”

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            Judy knelt. She was not a religious woman. Robert would enter from the rear. The doggy position. Not a particularly respectable position for a woman in mourning.

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            McCall, a self-taught musician, had in recent months been the object of much attention from the musical establishment. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Southwest Critics' Award for Promising Young Composer, and the Gualala Prize in 2012 for his composition “Fear and Loathing for Two Violins and Marimba.”

            McCall was 31 years old. He leaves a wife, Judy.

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            When Andrew married Judy he was studying to become a podiatrist. Judy believed Andrew had a future in feet. Even Andrew did not suspect a change in direction.

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            Robert began to playfully nip at Judy's doggy-positioned buttocks.

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            Judy was a nice Jewish girl from a nice Jewish family. Her parents' indignation over the news that their daughter was marrying a shagetz was mitigated by the fact that at least the shagetz was going to be a doctor. So you can imagine their surprise and disappointment when Andrew announced that he was abandoning his podiatric ambitions in order to devote all his time to writing music.

            It had been a precipitous decision on Andrew's part.  One day he was playing his Hohner Blues Harp harmonica while listening to a recording of Webern's “Six Bagatelles for String Quartet,” and was overwhelmed by the freshness of what he heard. He immediately set out to write a dialogue for harmonica and string quartet, which he titled “Bows and Blues.” Having had no formal training, Andrew's string writing was rather crude, but the piece was nonetheless received as a work of great daring and imagination. His first success.

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            Robert grasped Judy's breasts and thrust. The first movement. 

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             Andrew's next composition was “Fear and Loathing for Two Violins and Marimba,” which earned him the coveted Gualala Prize.

            Soon after the Southwest Critics' Association named him the year's most promising young composer.  Andrew was gaining recognition. Recognition, unfortunately, does not necessarily pay the rent, so Judy took a job as a waitress at a local Steer and Beer restaurant in order to pay the bills. It was about this time that Andrew and Judy's marital problems began. With Judy working and Andrew spending most of his time composing in solitude, they hardly ever saw each other. In the ensuing months, Andrew and Judy's sexual encounters became less and less frequent.

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            Robert caressed expanses of Judy's flesh. Judy was responsive but a bit distracted, this being but a week after Andrew's death.

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            Andrew's Op. 3, “Eek, a Mouse!” was scored for soprano voice and piano. Its premiere at San Francisco's Davies Hall was a triumph. Critics compared the work (in spirit, if not in scope) to such compositions as Prokofiev's “Peter and the Wolf” and Saint-Saëns' “Carnival of Animals.”

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            Judy began to purr like a cat. Like a kitty-cat in the doggy position.

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            Andrew's greatest success, the piece he will be most remembered for, his Opus 4, was “Afternoon of an Electric Toothbrush.” The title derives from the fact that the work was first conceived when the composer was brushing his teeth with a Braun Oral-B while listening to a scratchy old LP of Richard Strauss' “Death and Transfiguration” at 2PM. The recording was released about a week before Andrew's death.

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            This disc represents the first recording of McCall's most romantic composition to date, “Afternoon of an Electric Toothbrush.” McCall's mature use of controlled dynamics creates an atmosphere of eroticism sorely missing from contemporary American composition. There is something of a Wagnerian flavor to the piece, and it has been called, by one astute critic, “a Liebstod for Madison Avenue.”

            The piece premiered at San Francisco's Symphony Hall, and subsequently has been heard at major concert venues throughout the world. The composition represents, to this listener's ears, conciliation between technology and the libido. McCall's most original vision, it is also his first piece to be scored for unconventional instrumentation.

            Ernest Weinberg, who performs the work, is a graduate of the Juilliard School and the NYU School of Dentistry.

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            Robert and Judy began to moan ecstatically, sounding like a duet from Rossini.

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            Andrew and Judy's marital problems came to a head during the composition of “Afternoon of an Electric Toothbrush.”

            “Andrew,” Judy said, “you've changed. You don't even touch me any more. You've become a stranger.”

            “We must make  sacrifices for our art.”

            “Our art?”

            It was the lack of sexual contact with her husband that sent Judy into the arms of Robert. Robert (never Bob, Bobby, Rob or Robbie) was a bartender at the restaurant where Judy worked. Robert had been making advances for months, but Judy kept her distance until her frustration finally got the best of her. Robert was really sexy, and Judy had wondered from the outset what it might be like to sleep with him.

            The two lovers hit it off the first time together, and it quickly evolved into a serious affair. Judy did have pangs of guilt at first, but as Andrew became more and more involved in his work she realized it was about time she started giving herself a fair shake. And Andrew never suspected a thing. He was too preoccupied with his newfound fame.

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INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM FOR ANDREW McCALL

 

“McCall is a promising young composer.” — New York Times

 

“McCall is a young composer with a promising future.” — San Francisco Chronicle

 

“It has become quite evident that Andrew McCall is America's most promising young composer.” — The Times of London

 

“Jung! Vielversprechend!” — Der Spiegel

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            Judy was at the end of her rope. Andrew was spending every waking moment on his music, making strange noises, experimenting with all sorts of odd instruments. And when he wasn't composing, he and Judy were arguing. Only when she was with Robert was Judy able to relax.

            At the time of his death, Andrew had begun work on his Opus 5, “Fallen Arches,” a work for percussion ensemble. Andrew was trying to get back to his roots. The piece was to be in three movements, “Flatfoot (Adagio),” “Orthotics (Andante),” and “Recovery (Allegro Molto Vivace).” But Andrew never got around to “Recovery.” His death came before he had completed “Orthotics.”

            Judy returned from food shopping one afternoon and heard a startlingly loud noise. The shock caused her to drop her bags, breaking bottles and eggs. She ran toward the bedroom, where the noise was coming from. It was the recording of “Afternoon of an Electric Toothbrush,” blasting through the speakers with the 18-inch woofers. Andrew was lying on the bed, completely nude, holding the score to “Afternoon of an Electric Toothbrush” in his right hand, masturbating with his left (he was a southpaw).

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Crescendo.

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            Robert and Judy came in unison.

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            Judy acted impulsively. She ran into the kitchen and grabbed the electric carving knife, Hamilton Beach. Andrew never knew what hit him.

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            Afterwards, Judy lit a cigarette.

                        

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