Monster Byte: The Black Widow of Theo Zann

By Maria Mitchell

Innsmouth, MA – Composer Theo Zann died unexpectedly of respiratory failure in a small town outside of Bavaria this morning and has left an odd inheritance to the Innsmouth Philoneiros Ensemble for use in the new musical, The Clock is Broken. A letter from Zann was sent along with the items and has been reprinted here in Innsmouth Free Press in its entirety:

I am glad to hear my harsh snubbing of Errol Crump back in 2010 didn’t skewer him into giving up writing music altogether. I am leaving the piano that reared me to him and the Innsmouth Philoneiros Ensemble. I am also leaving my unfinished collection of musical compositions to them in hopes that they may find inspiration and guidance within my notes. The jumble has been with me since I could read. I never could amalgamate the mess into something musically cohesive, thus I always thought of it as a collection of nightmares more than a musical manuscript. I hope my piano, my black consort, and my musical notes give all the help necessary to the people of Innsmouth, as they prepare to embrace their new musical.

Best Wishes,

Theo Zann

This unexpected charity has made some of the members of the Ensemble scratch their heads in bewilderment. Zack Hunt, sponsor of the musical, found the donation from Zann an unnecessary complication and offered Innsmouth Free Press this commentary: “I don’t know Zann’s musical repertoire that well, but from what I know of his reputation, he didn’t seem like a particularly generous fellow. While Crump was initially delighted by this unexpected show of support, I have advised him that we are better off not utilising Zann’s gifts. I have already put in a request to have the piano donated to the Tiny Tadpole Toys and Clothes store. The Innsmouth Philoneiros Ensemble has a perfectly good cherry wood spinet built by the late Jackson Waite, Erin’s Waite’s great-grandfather. It may not be flashy like Zann’s expensive, hulking, black grand, but less is more, and Zann’s grand piano would just eat up valuable room in the orchestra pit that is needed for the storage of other instruments used in The Clock is Broken. In short, Zann, wherever you are in the netherworld: Thanks, but no thanks. As for the musical manuscript, I have contacted the Innsmouth rare book dealers at The Tome and requested that they take it off our hands. It may be worth money to some collector someday, given Zann’s fame, but it’s not worth anything here. Hastings, Crump and Tillinghast are the only composers whose music we need for Clock.”

Erin Waite, co-sponsor of The Clock is Broken, added, “My great-grandfather, Jackson, built the Innsmouth Philoneiros Ensemble’s spinet during the Civil War. If it can survive America’s siege of brother against brother, and still manage to play beautifully, it’s certainly hardy enough to carry the Ensemble through this musical. As for Zann’s music, while interesting and unusual, it simply doesn’t jive with what Hastings, Crump and Tillinghast have composed. Zann is from the classical mold and Clock is going for a modern groove.”

Theo Zann’s piano was donated to the Tiny Tadpole Toys and Clothes Store, where it will be auctioned off during the summer to raise money for the educational programs of foster children in Essex County.

About Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell is Innsmouth Free Press's soundtrack columnist. Her poem," Broken Notes," was published in Innsmouth Free Press's gothic horror anthology, Candle in the Attic Window, and her short story, "The Kadath Angle," was published in Future Lovecraft. She wrote Monster Bytes concerning the eerie Garden of Azathoth.

Maria MitchellMonster Byte: The Black Widow of Theo Zann