I wrote my Six Landscapes for solo clarinet after Wallace Stevens as a belated NNth birthday present for my brother, Les Hicken, Director of Bands at Furman University. Les premiered the pieces last week at a faculty chamber music concert. He did a wonderful job, giving a sensitive and expressive performance of pieces that were “kicking [his] butt” earlier in the week.
This kind of music isn’t really his thing: He’s a late romantic early modernist kind of musician. But the pieces were inspired in part by a very good performance he gave of the Stravinsky Three Pieces back in the mid 70s. What stayed with me from that performance was his control of dynamics and ability to shade timbre.
We view quite a few musical issues differently, though our taste overlaps a lot. Whenever we are able to get together we have wonderful listening/discussion sessions. At any rate, I wanted to take this opportunity to say how proud I am to be his younger brother.