Naked And On Fire is a tribute to skilled percussionists, music designed to reflect my thrill at hearing humble objects played with finesse and grace. To all the backup singers who thought they could shake a tambourine or tap a triangle: listen to a real pro and let me know what you think.
The core instruments of this piece, therefore, are some of the most familiar, including three triangles, a tambourine (in this case, the Egyptian riq, which may be the world’s most impressive instrument of its kind), and maracas. The ensemble is then filled out with sustaining instruments such as gongs and other metallophones.
The sections of this piece form patterns inspired by cumulative “countdown” songs like the Passover verse “Who Knows One” or the song “Twelve Days Of Christmas,” in which each subsequent section adds a new phrase before repeating the previous ones. Sections, therefore, become increasingly long, and end with the distinctive phrase that began the piece. Like a Baroque canon, however, accompaniment layers are freely composed, contributing variety and depth of texture to an otherwise predictable format.