Two​-​Headed Boy (An Orchestral Reinterpretation)

from by Dalton Deschain

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My orchestral adaptation of Two-Headed Boy, by Neutral Milk Hotel. Composed by Dalton Deschain.

Program Notes:
In 1998, a little-known indie-folk band named Neutral Milk Hotel released an album called In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, an enigmatic lo-fi epic that many consider to be a concept album detailing the life of Anne Frank after she's taken by the Nazis. Songwriter Jeff Mangum has said that the album was written about recurring dreams he had about the Holocaust, and a Jewish family trying to survive the war. The album went on to become one of the most influential indie albums of all time.
My piece, "Two-Headed Boy," takes its inspiration from two songs on this album, unsurprisingly titled "Two-Headed Boy," and "Two-Headed Boy, Pt. 2." I believe these pieces to be about Peter van Pels, the boy that Anne became close with during their time in the attic. They are separated and put into different camps, and as despair and fear begin to cripple him, he hears Anne's voice calling from far away, urging him to use hope, and imagination, like they did in the attic together, to stay sane.
To reflect this story, my piece takes melodic ideas from the two songs, and reworks them into a vicious struggle between despair and hope, fear and imagination. As the horrors around him grow more intense, he must cling ever stronger to Anne's faint voice in his mind.
Peter died after a death march, in the Mauthausen concentration camp, 3 days before it was liberated.


from Two​-​Headed Boy, track released March 1, 2011
Michael Wright, Conductor
Kyle Dickson, Violin
Lena Seeger, Violin
Philip Reesman, Violin
Cathy Ellis, Violin
Nate Bliton, Viola
James Miller, Viola
Roxanne Kieme, Cello
Christina Steyer, Cello
Alex Goodin, Bass
Aneka Saxon, Flute/Piccolo
Hannah Rochelau, Oboe
Royce Phillips, Alto Saxophone
Nicolas Lira, Tenor Saxophone
Ryan Fountain, Horn
Pat Cooper, Horn
Rachel Linsmeier, Trumpet
Joe Duffy, Trombone
Matt Karram, Tuba
Neill Campbell, Piano
Nate Woodring, Percussion
Jonathan Wright, Percussion
Chuck Scheller, Percussion


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Dalton Deschain New York, New York

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