But I want the Harmonica...
for solo piano (1996)
duration: 7’
GRT • 030


recordings available
Satellite Mapping
Complete works for solo piano (1989–2014)
Amir Farid
Move Records, MD3402, 2016

But I Want the Harmonica...
Jeanell Carrigan, piano
Vox Australis

Giants in the Land
Ian Holtham, piano
Move Digital

score available from
Promethean Editions

program note
When I was about 6 or 7 years old, the school librarian came into our class. She asked us which item we would choose if stranded in a boat by ourselves: a fishing rod, a cake, a harmonica or a book? Now it seems that most of the kids thought cake would be excellent (it was getting close to morning recess) but she rightly pointed out that a cake can only be eaten once, whereas a book can be read over and over. But I wanted the harmonica and was not astute enough at the time to point out to her that not only could the harmonica be played over and over but you could make the tunes up yourself. I can't remember the librarian's name but if you're out there in the audience this piece is dedicated to you.

"The CD's title–piece, But I Want the Harmonica…, by Stuart Greenbaum, shows a clean and simple power of expression"
Clive O'Connell, The Age, September 1998

"Minimalism and jazz appear in different proportions, most endearingly in Stuart Greenbaum's But I Want the Harmonica… (consult the booklet for the explanation of the title)."
Carl Rosman, Brava!, October 1998

"Stuart Greenbaum's mostly gentle But I Want the Harmonica…(1996) gives the disc its shelf title and complements that with a dash of wistfulness."
Roger Covell, Sydney Morning Herald

“And Melbourne-based composer Stuart Greenbaum's But I Want the Harmonica… evolved gradually from quietness to stridency before decibel levels dropped again to bring the piece to a gentle close. Throughout, one heard a near-mesmeric simulation of a tolling bell.”
Neville Cohn, Ozarts review, 2003

“From 1996 comes one of the composer’s more well-known pieces, But I Want the Harmonica...the work follows a clear path, its motivic repetition sufficiently varied to sustain interest as a descending sequence of two-note gruppetti enjoys multiple accompanying variants with a heavy jazz colour at its high point.   This work exemplifies Greenbaum’s individual vein of melancholy.”
Clive O’Connell, O’Connell the Music, August, 2016