Sometimes I Wonder - (2009)
for high or medium voice
Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run
by smart people who are putting us on
or by imbeciles who really mean it.
[ 1 page, circa 50" ]
tessitura for high and medium voices
This adage seems rather apt in an era which, while one might call it modern,
is experiencing the same foolishness which previous generations have
endured. From economic crises brought about by mismanagement coupled with
private and government greed, to the cultural wars in which old foolishness
is touted over again as "new and modern," and somehow against what one
politician recently complained of by asserting, "the old ways of thinking
and the old ways of acting just won't do." [ 1 ]
As we see from Twain's acerbic quote, this is not new. It is old, the
reference to new ways of doing things -- imbecilic ways which forget the
lessons of the past.
Abraham Lincoln observed that it is "better to remain silent and be thought
a fool that to speak out and remove all doubt." In the same way, Mark Twain
chides us to choose between the world's leaders as either "people putting us
on" or "imbeciles." Yet another American, humorist Will Rogers, would likely
have added in a similar comment about politicians, "but, I repeat myself." [ 2 ]
The setting features increasing piles of diatonic seconds, which culminate
in the complete scale sounding simultaneously, ending with the statement of
The score for Sometimes I Wonder is available as a free PDF download,
though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is
prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic
below for this piano-vocal score.
Sometimes I Wonder
Sometimes I Wonder
[ 1 ] Rather the obverse has been seen true for
millennia. "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done
again; there is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9-14.
[ 2 ] The joke began with Twain, as he quipped, "Suppose you were
an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress but I repeat myself."
Echoing this Will Rogers hammered politicians in noting "We have the best
Congress money can buy," and "there's no trick to being a humorist when you
have the whole government working for you."
simple fact is that for generations, humorists have found the obvious faults
of government to the applause of audiences and the disapproval of
politicians. For this even a politician of the last generation,
Senator Daniel Pat Moynihan, observed, "The single most exciting thing
you encounter in government is competence, because it is so rare."