Chikasky, 2003 (9′)
In 1956, Chuck Berry told Beethoven to roll over, and to tell Tchaikovsky the news: rhythm and blues is here, and it’s here to stay. Chuck Berry wasn’t one for subtlety, to be sure, but he also happened to pick two classical composers who could match his musically bombastic nature, albeit in vastly different ways. (Imagine if Berry had instead told Schubert to roll over, and tell Rossini the news. A different message, I think.) I especially like his citing of Tchaikovsky, a composer with whom I’ve always had a love/hate relationship, enjoying so many of his melodies and his use of the orchestra, but hating his tendency towards long-windedness. And so I’ve taken a bit of what I love in Tchaikovsky, mixed it with some of what I like in Chuck Berry, and used Berry’s tossed-aside pronunciation of the old Russian’s name as the title of the piece. Chikasky is dedicated to my dad, who introduced me to rock and roll, and so much more.