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This composition was a commission from the Danish Radio Big Band for the ‘Close Up’ tour in 2019. The assignment said to write a piece about a body part of free choice, so I chose the

Glandula Thyroidea

The thyroid gland is a small organ that few people think of having at all. Quiet and anonymous, it just does its job, without attracting any attention.

Like a small machine, it takes care of the hormone production to which it (by the pituitary gland) is programmed. Then sending them out to the different cells of the body with messages of burn, cholesterol, weight, muscle strength and heartbeat.

Beautifully shaped, the thyroid lovingly embraces the esophagus. Reminiscent of a butterfly in its shape, it is completely symmetrical and yet as individual from person to person as the pattern in the iris and fingerprints.

Most of the machines we surround ourselves with in everyday life, are not being given a lot awareness - as long as they just work, that is. Then, at the moment they start to fail or break, we get annoyed because "that thing should just work!" Same thing with the thyroid, which is said to be the organ you barely know you have until it starts teasing.

But sending the annoyance in that direction is unfair to the little worker. After all, the thyroid gland has just clicked on the given instructions. Neither can it think for itself, nor help for either wear or bad programming. So I thought it might use a little encouragement, which shows in my rather humorous approach to the piece. 

The composition is written strictly symmetrical in a form that at several levels follows the physical appearance of the thyroid gland. The anonymous existence of the organ is reflected in the complete absence of a dominant soloist in the piece. The individual form of the organ is expressed by a section in the middle, where all the musicians of the band join in the rhythmic "machine" with improvised sounds (from instrument, body, voice or surroundings), in their own individual pattern. It's not perfect, so if you listen carefully, you might even hear some teasing here and there throughout the piece. 

My little musical portrait of the thyroid is dedicated to a close friend who is no longer in possession of her own.

Annette Saxe

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