Wind Quintet #1 (2014)
(Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon)
Two versions, #1A, and #1B
Approximate duration = 23 minutes
Wind Quintet #1 is composed in ritornello form (ABACADAEA) without a break, and lasts about 23 minutes. Each A section explores 5 motifs that are simple, yet unique to each other. Each motif is played by one of the 5 instruments, and each time the A section occurs, the instruments shuffle the motifs, while also playing a major second lower in pitch.
The middle sections (B, C, D, E) are all written as stand alone short pieces. Although each is unique to the others, the commonality is the use of a theme or idea. It could be a melody or a harmonic event, which doesn’t transpose or change in any way, while the other events in the piece do change. In B, the oboe and bassoon play the same melody, but just a short rhythm off, creating a round effect. Until they return to the start point, the horn and clarinet play simple chords that essentially are the same as the melody, while the flute drones a C pitch throughout. Also, the flute and clarinet play a quick melodic line which also doesn’t change. In C, the melody is repeated throughout, but the harmonies against it change giving the melody a different harmonic context and flavor. In D, the rhythms are constant throughout, as the chords cycle through a series of minor 7th chords. E has two sections, the first which is transposed each time through the circle of 5ths, and the second, which is a fixed minor 7th interval on G.
Due to the time constraints of many programs, I wanted to come up with a shorter version of this piece. At first I thought about having the performers select which sections they want to perform as well as the order. But I decided to instead create a set variant version that includes the first A section, followed by C, B, then ending with E (omitting D entirely). This version is called #1B and it is broken up into the 4 movements, although I connected movements 3 and 4 without a break.