I recently finished my first instrumental work since Hurricane Katrina passed through these parts. It is a short solo work for clarinet titled, No Way.
The initial seed of No Way was planted into my brain earlier this year when Al Theisen and I were talking about writing a new work based off of one of our older pieces where each bar of the new work was a variation off of that bar in the previous piece. Something about that idea just stuck with me. A couple of months later I heard a performance by the USM clarinet professor Gregory Oakes, at the Integrales New Music Festival in March, of a work by Ken Ueno titled, I screamed at the sea until nodes swelled up, then my voice became the resonant noise of the sea for amplified clarinet. That’s when I really started to churn around ideas for a clarinet piece.
Around June, I decided that the bar by bar variation idea using one of my old works could be successful for clarinet. The work I chose was for saxophone, and it was the first work I composed for that instrument. I have a little bit of a soft spot for that piece for that reason. The work was a serialist piece titled, Improvisation, which really wasn’t very improvisatory, but that was the name I branded it with. It has now seen a second life (a successful life, I hope) as a work for solo clarinet.
Since completing No Way, I have had a whirlwind of new ideas, and now I am working on a piece for pierrot ensemble plus percussion titled, Ice Nine. We will see how that goes. It has been fun so far.