Woodwind Quintet in C (2007)
III. Theme and Variations
I always love the combination of a woodwind quintet. The variety of color and timbre in this ensemble is vast, and because of that, it is enormously effective to let every voice speak out at different moments. An exact same melody repeated five times with different instruments or combinations of them can sound refreshing and interesting. To me, this comes to be the most fun part composing for this ensemble.
Written for the composition reading session of spring 2007 at San José State University, the first movement was meant to be a stand-alone piece; it is thus rather cohesive and self-contained. The piece was composed during a time when I was fascinated by fugues; I treasured every opportunity to incorporate fugal sections into my compositions. The quintet, as you would expect, ended up extremely contrapuntal.
After a vigorous of energy and complexity presented in the first movement, the second movement is an attempt for a calm and peaceful afterthought. The slow theme from the first movement reappears and is further decorated and explored. Smooth color and timbre changes and full ensemble sound are major explorations in this movement.
The third movement is my attempt with a rather free formal structure. It contains sets of variations on a theme. Very often, I vary on only fragments of the theme. When I do present the entire theme, it becomes a fugal subject against the second theme from the first movement. Overall, it is a set of variations that continuously evolves, and finally ends on running sixteenth notes that are once only accompaniments.
Started with stating the main theme from the first movement, the fourth movement is a sonata-allegro movement that combines three major fugal sections. Each of the fugal section combines new materials and themes or varied themes from the previous movements. The “development” of this movement is written to showcase the soloistic abilities of each player.
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