I've Got The Munchies (2001, rev. 2004) violin, viola, bass clarinet, and vibraphone.

Thomas Oboe Lee

About this work:

Program note.

When Stefan Hakenberg and Jocelyn Clark asked me to write a piece for their 2001 Cross Sound concert season in Alaska, I immediately wanted to write a piece with the title, "I've Got the Munchies."

Music inspired by the visual art is not something new. Mussorgsky composed his infamous “Pictures at an Exhibition” after viewing a memorial exhibition of paintings and drawings by Victor Alexandrovich Hartmann. Gunther Schuller, my teacher and mentor, composed one of his most memorable orchestral pieces entitled, “Six Studies on Themes by Paul Klee.” In 1997 I wrote a chamber work inspired by the paintings of Pablo Picasso. The work, "Yo Picasso," was scored for Bb clarinet, viola, cello and piano. 

For "the Munchies" I used as source material prints and paintings by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. The work, scored for two violins, bass clarinet and vibraphone, is in six movements:

I. For "The Scream" (1893), I used multiphonics in the bass clarinet to convey the anguish and desperation so clearly depicted in that infamous work. The multiphonics were provided to me by the bass clarinetist, Henri Bok.

II. Edvard Munch was very obsessed by his work, "Madonna." He made many versions of it between 1893 and 1902. I made three variations of the "Madonna" movement.

III. "Tingel-Tangel" (1895) is one of his rare prints in which gloom or misery is not the theme. It depicts a stage full of dancing girls. So, I wrote some dance hall music.

IV. I wrote a lullaby for "The Sick Child" (1896).

V. "The Dance of Life" (1899-1900) is a strange picture. The scene is of a party, but no one seems to be happy. I wrote a "demented waltz" for the scene.

VI. "The Sun" (1909-1916) is one of Munch's last paintings. It shows the rising sun over a peaceful horizon.


Version: 2001, rev. 2004
Year composed: 2001
Duration: 00:19:00
Ensemble type: Unspecified Instrument(s):Ensemble
Instrumentation: 1 Bass Clarinet, 1 Vibraphone, 1 Violin, 1 Viola

Thomas Oboe Lee's profile »