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New Program Notes for Thaw, and Joyride (Finally)

Thaw was set to receive its premiere this summer at Clarinetfest(r) in Reno, but that’s been postponed for obvious reasons. Which has given me the opportunity to finally write its program note:

I wrote Thaw during my third winter in Fargo, and it was an act of optimism, because spring hadn’t hinted its arrival when I completed the piece. My intent was to provide a meditation on the nature of melting snow and the slow, steady revealing of things last seen in November. I thought of the piece as figurative as well, hinting at the defrosting of our preconceptions, our assumptions, and our expectations. In hindsight, it seems appropriate that this piece was written in 2020, a year in which has seen a thaw in a number of ways.

Also, I’ve finally–FINALLY–written a program note for Joyride, which I wrote four years ago. I’m pretty happy with it.

Joyride is a duet that oscillates from being loud and raucous when it thinks you’re not looking to well-behaved and almost polite when it catches you watching. The back-and-forth motive suggests either a lack of control by either player or a complete abdication of any responsibility. Sure, there are some nice chorale-sounding moments, but even those get a little out of hand when in the hands of these two. Seriously, don’t trust them. Years later, they’ll look back on this and say “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”