PECULIAR CASE OF DR. H.H. HOLMES, THE



Performed By: Aaron Engebreth, baritone, and Alison d'Amato, piano; hosted on Florestan Recital Project website

Libretto:
Libby Larsen

Movements:
I. State My Case II. As a Young Man III. I Build My Business IV. Thirteen Ladies and Three Who Got Away V. Evidence

Instrumentation:
Baritone, prepared piano

Text: Text adapted from H.H. Holmes, aka Herman Mudgett

Duration: 18 minutes

Commissioned By:
Dickinson College for The Florestan Recital Project, Musical Artists in Residence, 2009

Premiere:
March 5, 2010 by Aaron Engebreth, baritone, and Alison d’Amato, piano, in Harrisburg, PA

Available From:
Libby Larsen Publishing

Composer's Notes:
Herman Webster Mudgett (1861–1896), better known as Dr. H. H.  Holmes, was among the first documented American serial killers. During the 1893 Chicago World Exposition, Holmes, already numbering several murder victims, opened a hotel which he had designed and built for himself specifically with murder in mind, and which was the location of many of his murders. While he confessed to 27 murders, of which nine were confirmed, it is estimated that he could have committed 250 such crimes. The case was notorious in its time and received wide publicity through a series of articles in William Randolph Hearst's newspapers.  I’ve adapted this song cycle from Holmes’ own confessions combined with Detective Robert Corbitt’s accounts of his investigations into murder and insurance fraud suspicions against Holmes. These investigations led to Holmes’ arrest and prosecution.
 
— Libby Larsen

Additional Information:

Prepared Piano Key

Upper Register

Note1 Implement Distance2 Strings3
G#3 1” Philips head screw 5/8” Between 1 and 2
A3 1/2” Philips head screw 7/8” Between 1 and 2
A#3 1” Brass bolt 13/16” Between 1 and 2
B3 1” Flat head wood screw 1-5/16” Between 1 and 2
C4 1/2” Brass flat head screw 3/4” Between 1 and 2
C#4 1/2” Brass flat head screw 3/4” Between 1 and 2
D4 1/2" flat head screw 1/2" Between 1 and 2
D#4 1/2" flat head screw 7/16” Between 1 and 2
E4 1-1/2” Rusty wood screw 3/8” Between 1 and 2
F4-F#4 Blue Spoolie 7/8” (to center of spoolie) Between F4 and F#4
G4 1-1/4” Black Philips head screw 3/4” Between 1 and 2
G#4-A4 Blue Spoolie 7/8” (to center of spoolie) Between G#4 and A4
A#4 1” flat head screw 1/2" Between 1 and 2
B4 1-1/4 Black Philips head screw 3/8” Between 1 and 2
C5 Cotter pin, 1-3/8” 1/4" Clipped onto 2nd string

Lower Register

Note1 Implement Distance2 Strings3
CCC# 3” Carriage Bolt Between 1 and 2
BBBb 3” Carriage Bolt 4-3/4” Between 1 and 2
FFF#-GGG Wooden Peg 5-1/2” Between FFF# and GGG

Footnotes

1Middle C = C1

2Distance is measured from the striking point on the hammer.

3Strings are numbered from left to right.