"I Fought the Law" was commissioned as a companion piece to the chamber version of "The Unanswered Question" of Charles Ives. I know this piece has many revolutionary features; I have always felt, however, that it is one of Ives' least courageous works. I guess I have never really believed that a few spooky flutes could represent me and my problems in the depiction of the struggle of human existence. What bothers me the most is the passivity of Ives' conception of human struggle in general- Ives watches the strings who watch the flutes who watch the trumpet. The piece has an already-defeated feeling to it. Where is it shown that this struggle means anything, that life is a never-ending fight to find an answer, even if that answer can never be found? Then I remembered a line from a rock and roll classic - "I fought the law and the law won." It is just as futile as an unanswered question but not nearly so pathetic.
"I Fought the Law" was commissioned by the ensemble Sentieri Selvaggi in Milan.
-- David Lang