Carolyn Stuart, violin and Midori Koga, piano
The Firehose Reel (1998)
recorded on "Cold Water Dry Stone" by Quorum and on "Roaming" by Jeremy Kittel
On a trip to Belfast, my wife and I kept noticing the emergency boxes labeled in large block letters: FIRE HOSE REEL. We joked that they could designate either fireboxes or a traditional Irish tune with that name. Reels are, after all, the most pyrotechnic of traditional Irish tune types, and the images of urgency and fire suggested by the name well suit the feel of traditional dance music when it takes off.
I wanted to capture the drive of a traditional session at its peak: the reels blazing along, the tunes stretched tauter and tauter like one long wire until the whole thing seems ready to snap or explode. The piece is a brief but intense moto perpetuo which never quite coalesces on an actual tune, but takes a very small amount of material and heats it up to the point of spontaneous combustion.