Four Characters for Woodwind Quartet

Completed on September 30th, 2010
Commissioned by The Paradise Winds; Joseph Kluesener, director

Joey and I had been looking for a way to collaborate together since early on in our professional career.  He was involved in the world premiere of my Concerto for Two Unaccompanied Instruments, but other than that our feeble attempts to work with each other in an artistic capacity would be left unfulfilled time after time…  until now!

Mid-summer 2010, I received an e-mail from Joey informing me of two pieces his ensemble was looking for: one was an 8-minute woodwind quartet, and the other was a 15-minute woodwind sextet.  My initial inclination was to shy away from anything longer than 10 minutes, simply because this was one of the first times I would be working on a formal commission, and my music tends to stop itself around 8 minutes in length regardless of the medium for which I write.  So, woodwind quartet it was!  I had not really written intentionally for chamber winds since Dance of the Muse, and I had not written exclusively for woodwinds since Dwindling Twilight.  Needless to say, I was excited to be back working with my own kind which involved two instruments I actually play (clarinet and bassoon), as well as two other instruments which I have had ample experience with.

When the initial sketches began, I had no idea what I was doing.  What initially emerged was a poorly conceived sequel to George Rochberg’s Dark Wood, a piece I had recently been listening to.  So, I needed to strip all the things I didn’t like and see how I could salvage what I did like.  A 3-chord harmony was more or less all that I kept, which had a great deal of potential for a myriad of colors dependent on registration.  As a result, the third movement was constructed, focusing on a choral setting that utilized ensemble timbre moving from dark to bright and back again.  I showed the movement to Joey, who immediately pointed out the fact that the oboe seemed to possess a lot of glue to hold the movement together.  It was not that the instrument was in the spot light, but that its lines worked to move the piece along and hold it together more than the others.  He recommended I shoot for a collection of miniatures that indirectly featured each instrument, which I gladly ran with.

As a result, the second movement came next, utilizing the bassoon as the glue.  Then the first, focused on the flute and, finally, the fourth movement which exhausted the clarinet.  Each movement is intended to display a type of personality or character, and has no programatic tendencies attached to it.

Four Characters for Woodwind Quartet


Score Readable PDF Score of Four Characters for Woodwind Quartet

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Past Concerts

Paradise Winds  

Date Venue City More
09/21/11 Chandler Gilbert Community College Paradise Winds in Chandler [+/-]
05/04/11 Knights of Pythias Lodge Paradise Winds in Tempe, Arizona [+/-]
04/02/11 Tempe History Museum Paradise Winds in Tempe, Arizona [+/-]