Winner of the Literary Titan Book Award, this musically and graphically enriched chamber novel is an over-the-top black and blue comic extravaganza about the conspiratorial undoing of a teenage entitlement princess. The story throbs throughout with an undercurrent of apocalyptic motifs related to the extinction of art, fall of empire, and coming of the Antichrist. It is an epic farce that reads like an erotically supercharged psychological suspense thriller. The narrative takes the reader/audient on a veritable boomerang roller-coaster ride (with multiple inversions) through a reputational strip-and-whiptease of the novel’s malignantly artful (albeit ingenuously doe-eyed) protagonist: a wealthy young heiress and socialite who boasts an exclusive claim to her progenitors’ munificent estate. Her inheritance comprises an immense fortune amassed through shareholder investments in the world’s largest employment recruiter: the multi-national temp agency behemoth known as the Pleasant Peasant Corporation.
The character-driven narrative of Jagdlied explores themes of jilted love, misinterpreted motives, paranoid ideations, bombastic egos, ghoulish envy, smoldering jealousy, unconscionable revenge ploys, extravagant public humiliations, ruthless power games, insatiable greed, pernicious corruption, feigned moral outrage from all sides, and even (Heaven forfend!) coldblooded murder—all the type of stuff pre-calculated to magnetize your run-of-the-thrill-seeking bookworms and bibliophiles.
A rich repository of tongue-in-cheek nonce words, malapropisms, neologisms, archaisms, spoonerisms, slanguage, and whole swaths of unintelligible nonsense, the text of Jagdlied is also replete with irreverently lurid, salacious, and scatologic elements, which serve to set it in motion as a formidable contender for the distinctive cachet of being regarded (by cultivated aesthetes of omnifarious persuasions) as a momentously serious dirty book. It is targeted towards percipient readers and audients in possession of a well-seasoned sick and—dare it be said—cruel batch of funny bones inflected with a gallows-cum-smoking-room bent.
Whilst the plot of this story (grotesquely absurd as it will undoubtedly be esteemed) embraces reflexively cringeworthy sadomasochistic motifs, its author would hesitate to instyle it as porn, yet he would not be wholly disinclined to characterize it as a farcical parody thereof. And whilst at the same time its author is admittedly predisposed to eschew ascribing labels of any kind to this opus (especially seeing as what he has concocted is so rarefied in its formal structure that it cannot be facilely pigeonholed), it may not be altogether off the mark to view it as a form of literary neurotica (if, indeed, there is such a genre) as opposed to the more boilerplate literotica—or what in sex nazi circles is dysphemistically adverted to (in no uncertain squirms) as “filth.”
Whilst the text of Jagdlied may be read in silence as a novel in the traditional sense, it is ultimately written for the purpose of being recited by a skilled elocutionist to the accompaniment of extemporized music by ad hoc variable ensembles in relatively brief, self-contained or—depending on how one looks at it—semi self-contained episodes with the aid of a do-it-yourself improvisation kit provided in its appendix. This “kit” is likenable to a Baroque-style table of ornaments, albeit comprehending specific sets of chance operations for each and every participant involved in renditions of individual fascicles of this work. Aside from entailing a professional narrator and musical extemporizers, the score discretionarily calls for pantomime actors, dancers (hence choreographers), set designers, culinary artists, and even members of the audience itself.
Composer Gary Lloyd Noland (whose author pen name is Dolly Gray Landon and whose artist nom de guerre is Lon Gaylord Dylan) grew up in a crowded house shared by ten people on a plot of land three blocks south of UC Berkeley known as People’s Park, which has distinguished itself as a site of civic unrest since the late 1960s. As an adolescent, Gary lived for a time in Salzburg and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where he absorbed many musical influences. Having studied with a long roster of acclaimed composers and musicians, he earned his Bachelor’s in music from UC Berkeley in 1979, continued studies at the Boston Conservatory, and transferred to Harvard University, where he added to his credits a Masters and a PhD in Music Composition in 1989.
Gary’s catalogue consists of hundreds of works, which include piano, vocal, chamber, experimental, and electronic pieces; full-length plays in verse, “chamber novels,” and other text pieces; as well as graphically notated scores. His “39 Variations on an Original Theme in F Major” for solo piano (Op. 98) is, at two hours duration (give or take), one of the most challenging (not to say voluminous) sets of piano variations in the history of the genre. His compositions have been performed and broadcast (including on NPR) in many locations throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia, and Australia. He founded the Seventh Species concert series in San Francisco in 1990 and has, since, produced multiple concerts of contemporary classical music on the West Coast. Gary is also a founding member of Cascadia Composers, one of the premier composer collectives on the West Coast. Gary has taught music at Harvard and the University of Oregon. His musical scores are available from J.W. Pepper, RGM, Sheet Music Plus, and Freeland Publications.
His chamber novel JAGDLIED is winner of the Literary Titan Book Award.