This work was written at the request of the Aspen Quintet of New York City, the Soni Ventorum of the University of Washington, and the Clarion Quintet of the North Carolina School of the Arts through a National Endowment for the Arts Consortium Commission.
For many years I had written music that was harmonically dense and rhythmically complex. My second wind quintet is representative of my more recent works in which I write in a more accessible style, using less dissonant harmonies, simpler rhythmic patterns, and clearer melodies than I used in my earlier compositions.
The quintet opens with a short, slow introduction (Intrada) which ends with a motive in the horn which becomes important later. The Capriccio consists of an alteration between two contrasting themes. The first is a rather strident melody heard at the beginning in the clarinet. The second, derived from the horn motive in the Intrada, is more subdued and is usually accompanied by a murmuring motive.
The second movement, Alleluia Variations, is actually based on a Gregorian Chant. This chant melody is repeated several times, each time with the same pitches but with new rhythm and always in a solo instrument with responses from the others as a cantor being answered by a chorus.
In total contrast to the second movement, the third movement is a Burletta and, as the title suggests, is much lighter in mood. The principal idea makes use of the syncopated cakewalk rhythm.
The last movement, Saltarello, is a rapid dance in 6/8 meter. Throughout the movement there is much interplay of two types of groupings of the six eighth notes in each measure--two groups of three, and three groups of two. At the coda the tempo increases, and the quintet ends in a whirlwind of sounds.
Wind Quintet No. 2. Albemarle Ensemble. Virginia Arts Recording. VA-95216-CD.
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