As part of the 2019 Summer Concerts at St. Peter’s, Fünf, the Capital Region’s professional woodwind quintet, will premiere my Quintet No. 2 for Winds on Friday, July 26that 7:00pm at St. Peter’s Church in Saratoga Springs. They will perform this alongside works by Maurice Ravel, Samuel Barber, and Paquito D’Rivera. The performance is free and open to the public, thanks to the generous support of the Saratoga-Warren Musical Performance and Scholarship Fund. We will also offer a light (but enticing) reception following the performance in the church courtyard (weather permitting).
Fünf’s musicians are Norman Thibodeau (flute), Susan Kokernak (oboe), Christine Barron (clarinet), Patrice Malatestinic (horn), and Gerald Lanoue (bassoon).
I am excited about this performance for several reasons. First, it’s great to be welcoming Fünf back to St. Peter’s, as they have not performed here since 2015. Second, on that performance in 2016, Fünf premiered my first quintet – a fantastic performance that was very well received by a wonderful audience – so I am looking forward to a similarly enjoyable experience for audience, musicians, and composer alike! Third, this is the second concert of our 2019 Summer Concerts at St. Peter’s, following Triology’s performance in June (which also included a premiere of mine), so I am hopeful that we can keep the momentum going as I work toward establishing a regular, honest-to-goodness concert series at St. Peter’s.
The premiere of this second quintet is long in coming. Fünf asked me to write a second piece for them shortly after the premiere of the first, but because of other professional projects (the composition of Epiclesis, research and composition on Adirondack Sketches, and creation of some new church music) and some major family events (the death of my mother-in-law and birth of my youngest daughter), work on this second quintet has happened in fits and starts. That said, I am very happy with how it has come together, and that it will finally see its premiere this month!
This quintet is a bit different from the first, in that the four movements are not connected by a single motif that returns throughout the piece. There are some call-backs and foreshadows here and there, to be sure, and there is certainly some connective tissue that brings these four movements together to form one piece, but each movement has its own “jumping off” point and its own distinct attitude.
The first movement is a kind of steady sonata form, utilizing a synthetic scale that I like to play with sometimes, one that can sometimes keep our ears guessing as to which of two notes is the designated tonal center. The second movement is a Theme & Variations, with the “theme” being a chant-like melody that takes a bit of a bluesy turn. The third movement is a fast and furious scherzo (though also in a sonata form) that begins with a rhythm I came up with while playing with my children... enjoyed by all three of them when they were very young, most especially the newest of the bunch. The final movement is a calm sort of continuous variation, wherein the simple melody introduced at the beginning is continually repeated, but moves through several different scale-types and tonal centers, with the registration, instrumentation and accompaniment patterns also changing around it. This brings a kind of contemplative “in the hammock at the end of a good summer day” vibe to end the piece.
I hope this post has piqued your curiosity, and that you will have a chance to attend the premiere on July 26th. If you are not able to attend this performance – or even if you are – be on the lookout for a second performance of this piece by Fünf in August that will also feature my first quintet and a pre-performance talk (and Q&A) about both pieces by Yours Truly.
You can always find quick and easy information about this and other upcoming performances of my music on the Events page of my website. If you’d like to help get the word out, feel free to click on the poster image at the top of this post to get the poster, print it out and hang it in a visible place, or simply share it electronically. Hope to see you there!