Instrumentation: Solo oboe; flute (piccolo), bass clarinet; violin, cello; percussion, keyboard
World Premiere: December 1988 / Finney Chapel, Oberlin, Ohio / Alex Klein, oboe / Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble / Larry Rachleff
Peermusic Classical, BMI (Americas and Asia)
Faber Music (Europe, Australia and New Zealand)
Duration: 13 minutes
Firecracker (1991) is a concerto for solo oboe and chamber ensemble of flute(picc), bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion. It is a virtuosic piece spun off from the a motive, inspired by the diabolically difficult etudes of Antonio Pasculli (1842-1924), perhaps the greatest oboe virtuoso of his day: The musical fireworks are briefly interrupted by a playful tango interlude. The stereophonic stage arrangement of the ensemble emphasizes the deliberate spacial patterning of sound employed throughout the work, which I chose to call “visual music.” Firecracker celebrates the rhythmic and explosive potential of the oboe and was written for Alex Klein, the award winning principal oboist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble.