for violin, viola, cello, and piano
During the summer of 2012, I attended a new music festival in Cortona, Italy, and heard a piece performed by a colleague in which the pianist struck the wooden frame inside the piano with a percussion mallet. I became enamored with this sound, and I was determined to incorporate this technique into a piece of my own. Hammer Striker is the result of this endeavor. The piece is also inspired by and loosely follows the story of Wayland the Smith from Norse mythology. Wayland was a legendary master blacksmith who is mentioned in various Old English sources including Beowulf. Wayland was imprisoned and forced into slavery by King Niohad, but got his revenge by killing the King’s sons and fashioning goblets and jewels made from their skulls and eyes. He then seduced the King’s daughter and escaped from his imprisonment by forging a pair of wings and taking flight.