The Louie Louie Variations

Clarinet, cello, piano, marimba; also string quartet; also mandolin quartet


The Louie Louie Variations is a lively fantasy based on the archetypical I-IV-V chord progression of classic rock songs such as “Louie Louie.” It sends a small fragment on a deconstructive mission through a contemporary classical landscape. The tiny fragment turns upside down and backwards and speeds across irregular rhythms.

Originally scored for clarinet, marimba, piano and cello, The Louie Louie Variations won the Pacific Composers Forum 1989 Prize and was performed by XTET in Los Angeles. It was next scored for string quartet and this version was performed in Las Vegas by the Nevada Chamber Symphony. Next it was scored for the Modern Mandolin Quartet, who recorded it for both Windham Hill and for Phillip Bimstein’s Starkland CD, Garland Hirschi’s Cows.

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