Wind Quintet No. 1
by Steve Matchett


I. Prelude and Interactions (beg.) - II. Reminiscences (end) - III. Rondo (beg.)
performed by the Scirocco Winds in concert, February 1, 2009
© 2008 Steve D. Matchett

Difficulty level:
College / Professional

Program Notes:
The Wind Quintet No. 1 by Steve Matchett was composed beginning in 2007 and completed in 2008. The first movement, Prelude and Interactions, features a slow introduction which is followed by a flute solo marked quasi cadenza. The flute solo is intended to sound somewhat improvisatory even though it is in strict meters. Punctuations from the other instruments accompany the flute. After the flute solo, the faster Interactions section begins, starting with a contrapuntal section which is the first of several episodes. This section, which is marked Allegro moderato, features a lot of imitation among the instruments. The instruments “converse” on the various topics, or musical gestures, in each clearly defined episode. The music actively changes between playful and more serious sections. Not only do the instruments “interact” with each other, but the episodic sections of the movement interact and contrast. After the first contrapuntal section, the clarinet has a somewhat playful melodic figure with syncopated punctuations from the rest of the group. This section is marked Deciso (decisive). A simpler, more lyric section follows, marked Liscio (smoothly). The next episode is marked Scherzoso (playful or somewhat jokingly), and even though not intended as jazzy, it contains some mild “blues” inflections . The episode following is marked Meno mosso e risoluto (slower and resolute). Following that, the tempo accelerates and a brief and disjunct figure predominates in the clarinet. The music builds, and the earlier playful clarinet tune returns, this time in the clarinet and bassoon with simple rhythmic interplay in the horn. More imitation on this simple figure sets up the ending which features a flare of scales from the flute and clarinet.

The second movement, titled Reminiscences, is slow, and designated Adagio sostenuto. The title does not imply any specific biographical or literary events, but the movement is intended to evoke the sense of reminiscing in purely musical terms. The music is mostly calming, but at times has hints of disturbance and irritation. After an introductory section, the oboe begins a somewhat sentimental melody which is taken over by the flute. This section, marked Affettuoso (affectionate), is presented in a somewhat incomplete version, and is played in a more complete version later by the solo horn. The opening music comes back to finish the movement with peaceful harmonies.

The last movement, titled Rondo, is intended as a sort of lively romp and is marked Allegro con brio. After an introduction of strong chord punctuations, the clarinet plays the recurring melody of the movement. It is this recurrence of the theme that is most associated with the traditional rondo form. The form is easy to follow, and the recurring “A” theme is sandwiched between contrasting music throughout the movement. This movement is in 6/8 time signature and its extended relatives of 9/8 and 12/8. A rhythmic device, used in triple meter since the Renaissance, is one called “hemiola.” This is a process of meter which plays on the fact that the number 6 can be thought of as two sets of three, or three sets of two. The hemiola device is used in this movement in ways which can suddenly increase the rhythmic activity making the music seem much more hectic. So even though the basic tempo does not change for the entire movement, it feels like it changes. I composed one section of the music which is very chordal and was originally intended as a slow chorale ending to reflect on the Prelude of the first movement. I decided however to reject the idea of ending the piece in slow tempo, and integrated the chorale into the movement while also giving it some rhythmic features. A change of key sets up an ending coda section and the rhythm drives strongly to the end.
- notes by Steve D. Matchett, © 2009 Steve D. Matchett

Steve Matchett with members of the Scirocco Winds - February 1, 2009
left to right - Eric Bean, clarinet; Steve Matchett, Tianna Bonser, horn; Season Summers, oboe;
Kimberly Clark, flute; Gina Stevens, bassoon.

Details:
Composed in 2007 - 2008. Premiered February 1, 2009 at Kinsmen Lutheran Church, Houston, TX, USA, by the Scirocco Winds - Kimberly Clark, flute; Season Summers, oboe; Eric Bean, clarinet; Tianna Bonser, horn; Gina Stevens, bassoon.
Instrumentation: fl., ob., cl., hn., bsn.
Timing: 23' 15"
Publisher: soon to be published by Gulf Wind Music Press


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last revised February 21, 2009