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Comedy Club

YEAR: 2017
DURATION: 5 minutes
INSTRUMENTATION: Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Piano
PREMIERE: June 11, 2017
Nichols Concert Hall
Chicago, IL
COMMISSION: Fresh Inc. Festival

Program Note:

I have a lot of appreciation for stand-up comedians. In a way, I’ve noticed that crafting a stand-up routine is quite similar to crafting a musical composition. Many different aspects such as timing, pacing, cadence, and volume are considered when writing a set. Also similar to composition, a comedian’s stories are often based on personal experiences, and the tone of his/her delivery reflects his/her emotional response to various situations.

That being said, I decided to structure this piece as if it were a stand-up routine. The piano can be seen as the comedian throughout the opening section and the oboe and clarinet could perhaps be the various audience members, nervously laughing. As for the horn, it acts as the unimpressed chump that has to be convinced of the comedian’s hilarity and merit. These forces undergo various dialogues throughout the piece, sometimes fighting or joking with one another, or sometimes getting serious for a moment. (That moment doesn’t usually last very long.) Ultimately, the comedian’s job is to entertain and, just like other art forms, take the audience on a transcendent, emotional journey that briefly obscures reality.