What Vibes! (2000) by Andrew Rindfleisch
for flute/piccolo, Eb clarinet/bass clarinet,
violin, cello, piano, percussion
West Coast premiere

What Vibes! is a work for six players composed shortly after my residence at the American Academy in Rome during the years 1997-1998. Like many before me, it was not until I lived in Italy that I realized how American I really was. This experience revealed to me more clearly, not only my cultural personality, but my musical one as well. What Vibes! is, then, an attempt to express this experience. To begin, I cast the clarinetist (playing E flat and bass clarinet) as a kind of lead character expressing his true colors in a foreign environment of sights and sounds that were, previously, only imaginable. Harmonically, I sought out the most "white bread / vanilla" tonality I could think of (C major), which I attempt to turn inside-out in a variety of ways as its simple self-contained language is confronted with elements of outside interest. Emerging out of these tonal purges come a uniquely American music: the blues — at times far beneath the musical surface, at times totally exposed. All these aspects manifest themselves in a celebratory tone, reflecting a remarkable self-discovery in a remarkable place far from home.

— A. R.    

[from program for May 21, 2001 concert]