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The Devil’s Nine Questions (2008)

By Fifth House Ensemble

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In 1963, Max Hunter, a traveling salesman, recorded Nancy Philley of Fayetteville, Arkansas singing The Devil’s Nine Questions. What really intrigued me about this recording was the stark contrast between Philley’s pure voice and the dark subject matter of the lyrics. This contrast inspired me to compose this piece, which uses the original folk tune as a melodic cornerstone, and programmatically addresses each of the nine questions and answers. Recorded May 5, 2013 by the Quartetto di Cremona with Nolan Pearson.