On the Go
clarinet and computer-generated sounds

Robert Morris

Program Notes

On the Go is a concerto for clarinet and a "virtual orchestra" of computer generated sounds. The sounds were designed to generalize the clarinet's timbre and to sound "orchestral," but without actually using orchestral samples. The relation of the soloist to the sounds--played from a CD--resembles that in the Romantic concerto, where the soloist as protagonist leads the music's dramatic narrative to a successful conclusion. In this piece, the clarinet announces a quickly rising figure, which is more or less ignored by the ensuing tutti section in the "orchestra." As the piece goes on, the clarinet slowly influences the orchestra to change its ways from remaining inert and formal, so that at the end of the work, the soloist and ensemble work together to finish the work with arpeggiated textures directly related to the clarinet's opening figure. Over the course of the piece, the soloist interacts with the accompanying sounds in many different ways--embellishing, tracing, contrasting, and remaining independent--overcoming a pressure to be engulfed and overcome.

I am very grateful to Marianne Gythfeldt for premiering both this difficult work in 2003 and an earlier work, Out and Out (1989), written for her.