Lickety Split (2015) by Carlos Simon
for cello and piano

As young boy, I worked with my grandfather during the summers paving driveways in Rocky Mount, Virginia. He was a task master. Things had to be done the right way and with haste when he asked for it in his own playful way. He would say, "Pull those weeds up lickety split!" or "Shovel that dirt lickety split!" It was tortuous work during the hot summer days but ultimately proved quite lucrative at the end of the day when my grandfather paid me for the days work.

This piece, in its whimsical character, draws on inspiration from that colloquial phrase, Lickety Split, coined in the 1860s. It meant to do something quickly or in a hurry. I used the rhythmic syllabic stresses of the phrase as a main motif for the piece (li-ke-ty split). To create a playful mood, I used bouncing pizzicato lines in the cello part over wildly syncopated rhythms played by the piano. Harmonically, the central idea moves in parallel motion in thirds between the voices. As the piece develops to an agitated state, both instruments relentlessly rhythmically drive to a climatic ending—done so in a lickety split fashion...

— C. S.    

[from program for March 21, 2022 concert]