Scars and Scraped Forever for Piccolo and Piano by Kenneth Laufer
A comic novelty based on John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever
Kenneth Laufer is best known for his satirical piano playing in both comedy clubs and concert halls – much of it, of course, his own composition. Born to Austrian parents in New York, 1943, he was raised on Bach and classical music, and was “not too fond of pop music,” in his own words.
Laufer’s best-known work, Scars and Scrapes Forever for piccolo and piano (or band), is a brilliant example of his compositional language; satirical, charming, and rich in conflicting musical ideas that are nevertheless gracefully combined. A simple ragtime – the first piece of another work, the Three Light Movements for flute, for example – might transform into a complex recital work with conflicting harmonies and counterpoint; a simple aria – the second of the Light Movements – into a thickly-spiced melodic ramble over the blues. Remarkably, these transformed ideas still hold their easy appeal and rhythmic drive, a result of Laufer’s quick familiarity with both the concert hall and comedy club.