Program notes

Fast Talking: the last words of Dutch Schultz, opus 38 (1988)

Fast Talking: the last words of Dutch Schultz for solo male voice was commissioned by Andrew Ford with financial assistance from the Music Board of the Australia Council in 1988. It is a virtuosic piece for a male voice speaker/singer who is asked to use a wide range of vocal styles including panting, moaning, whispering, speaking, shouting, singing and sobbing. The performer is also called on for a range of physical gestures including clapping, finger snapping, fist punching and other violent gestures. Fast Talking should be performed as fast as possible with few breaks in the flow. Some of the words in the rapid passages are intended to be a jumble and to provide a ‘backdrop’ to physical actions and clearer passages in the voice.

Leading New Jersey identity, Dutch Schultz (aka Arthur Flegenheimer), was shot in the toilet of the Palace Chop House in Newark on October 24th, 1935 by underworld hitman Charley “The Bug”. The text for Fast Talking is the last words he gave which were recorded by the New Jersey police as Schultz lay dying in a hospital bed. The moods and words of the dying Dutch Schultz create a dialogue of ideas and psychological states ranging from reliving the trauma of being shot, recollections of events and loved ones, pleas for help and disconcerting acknowledgements of his impending death.