Inspired by the commissioner's name and location, the title SLIPPERY SLOPES may also suggest
a variety of meanings.
By coincidence, while beginning work on the piece in September 2022, I learned of the passing
of my former teacher, the great bass clarinetist Ron Reuben (who joined the Stan Kenton Band
on saxophone after graduating from Curtis; he later played for 38 years as the Philadelphia
Orchestra's bass clarinetist). Ron liked reminding me that most modern jazz is more inventively progressive than most modern classical.
The opening 32 bars oozed out when I heard about Ron, and I originally thought this would
become the 2nd of 3 movements in a little suite. But those opening bars just wanted to get up and dance.
SLIPPERY SLOPES was commissioned by the Slippery Rock University Clarinet Choir, under the direction of Dr. Amanda Morrison. It is scored for 1 Eb Clarinet, 3 Bb Clarinets, and 2 Bass Clarinets (not going below Eb). It may also be performed by a larger ensemble, and an optional Bb Contra part is provided.