Publisher: Chester Music
Steamboat Bill Jr. (1990)
Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Helsinki
Works for 2-6 Players
Steamboat Bill Jr. has been written on behalf of my friends Anssi Karttunen and Kari Kriikku. Anssi played me once a fantastic recording of an arrangement of Pulcinella by Strawinsky for violin and cello. The presence of the orchestra despite of the rather limited means, like the top of an iceberg created a strange and wonderful tension.
I wrote the piece in 1990 during the time I was working with the most harmonious parts of JOY for large ensemble and live electronics. The basic concept of Steamboat is the harmonic layout, a rather paradoxical starting point for writing a duo for clarinet and cello. Huge chordal successions are being covered by alternating between many layers successively. I imagine the feeling for the musician to be much like playing multiple chess turns simultenously.
Style is a feature I have been focusing a lot of intention to lately. Steamboat Bill Jr. moves between odd scherzo characters, puristic serial music, spectral music affects, even minimalistic approaches aren't forbidden. Pluralism "an sich" is not necessarily very interesting, for me it is more a question of a kaleidoscopic writing based on a maximal variety brought out from a rather limited musical material.
The title of the piece refers to Buster Keaton's movie and doesn't demand any explanation, I suppose.
Gregory Barrett / Helen Linden