Spring Fever


for clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2001)



Perusal Score



12 min.


Clarinet in A, Violin, Cello and Piano

Program Notes

Spring Fever is a rhapsody on spring themes.  It is not a portrait of flowers and gardens, but rather an impression of awakenings that occur.  Love, growth and the fervor of activity coupled with peace and tranquility all served as inspiration for the work.  Musically, Spring Fever is influenced by Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and paraphrases a moment from each.

Spring Fever was commissioned by the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble and the Jerome Foundation.  The work is dedicated to Joan Tower.

Duration: ca. 12 min.

The score is in C.


art does not get very far unless it ruffles a few feathers. Happily, the music did that.  Steven Burke’s “Spring Fever,” for the strongly Viennese-Romantic ensemble of clarinet, violin, cello and piano, might have been written by Brahms after hearing “The Rite of Spring.”… a keen sense of how to create abstract shapes..  Mr. Burke tackled them head on.  His piece, highly accomplished and including some novel sonorities (especially near the start), was bursting with historical awareness and creative confidence. The many allusions to Stravinsky’s spring (and perhaps also Vivaldi’s) were deftly managed: the music stayed on its own course, without lapsing into out-and-out quotation.

Paul Griffiths, The New York Times, June 6, 2002


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