• Easy Mad7:11

frank stemper

Easy Mad  (2002)
clarinet and alto sax   [6 mins]


EASY MAD was commissioned by Todd Rewoldt and his former wife, a clarinetist, and they premiered it in 2003 at the Eastman School.  Then some other duos picked it up and performed it in various places around the globe.  It’s a pretty hard piece, so I’m thankful that they thought enough of it to "give it a whirl" as my mother might say.

My mother might also say - “Easy Mad”  — "I get easy mad," she'd say, sometimes quite often.  She was almost apologetic when she said it, as if she couldn’t help getting mad so easily, she just did.  And I think it also made her mad that she got mad, and so easily.  So she’d get “easy mad” at whatever, then she’d get “easy mad” because she got “easy mad!”  Not that she was a crabby person - most of the time she was a riot — especially when she said, "I GET EASY MAD." Because she knew, and I think we knew that the reason she got "easy mad" was because she loved us!

But really, who doesn’t, especially when we’re alone — “%@#*%&” Our temperature rises and we curse every little thing with a mutter under-breath.  But we also do this when we’re around the people we love, those people whom we know the best, our family.  And this piece, being a duet, is about the relationship between two folks who really know each other well.  We almost feel alone when we’re with people whom we love and trust, and who already know that we can get “easy Mad” on occasion.  I asked my dad once why we treat strangers so cordially but often treat those we love so badly.  In his infinite and flippant wisdom, he responded “because, with our loved ones, we know we can get away with it.”

Our loved ones understand us.  They often know what we want or what are going to say before we say it.  They often finish our sentences.  Together we laugh at non-existent thoughts that only we can understand.  We know how to push each other’s buttons, but also what causes the other the most happiness.  With our loved ones we are easily passionate with our affection, but we are also passionate about being “easy mad.”