With the “Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major” by J.S. Bach serving as a model for the inspiration, spirit and vitality of this work, Gillingham has created a work in the concerto grosso style but with a modern flair. Not for the feint of heart, Concerto for Woodwind Quintet & Wind Ensemble requires an aggressive group of soloists as well as a peak performing ensemble.
Genre: Solo Woodwind Quintet with Band | # of Players: Standard + 5
Level: 5 | Duration: 11:30
Clarinet in Bb 1
Clarinet in Bb 2
Clarinet in Bb 3
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Trumpet in Bb 1/2
Trumpet in Bb 3/4
Horn in F 1/2
Horn in F 3/4
Timpani (4 drums)
Percussion 1 (Chimes (shared), Crotales, Bells (shared), Xylophone (shared)
Percussion 2 (Xylophone (shared), Chimes (shared), Bells (shared), Temple Blocks)
Percussion 3 (Snare Drum, Tam-Tam)
Percussion 4 (Suspended Cymbal, Bass Drum, Crash Cymbals, Tam-Tam (shared)
Percussion 5 (Crash Cymbals (shared), Suspended Cymbal (shared), 2 Concert Toms, Tam-Tam (shared), Bass Drum (shared)
The Concerto for Woodwind Quintet and Wind Ensemble began as a commission in 1983 but never materialized and was never performed. Its premiere performance was in February of 1995 by the Central Michigan University Symphonic Wind Ensemble under the direction of John Williamson. The Powers Quintet of Central Michigan University was the soloing quintet.
It was my intention to create a work in the concerto grosso style which flourished in the Baroque period within the confines of materials and techniques of the present century. The “Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major” by J.S. Bach served as a model for the inspiration, spirit and vitality of this work.
All three movements involve the interplay of the concertino group (the woodwind quintet) and the ripieno (the full ensemble with the quintet). Therefore, the woodwind quintet plays a dual role in the work as a soloing ensemble and as a part of the larger ensemble. The first movement is the most sophisticated of the three with a primary motive consisting of running sixteenth notes alternating between duple and triple groupings. A rather pompous motive with dramatic leaps emerges about midway through the movement in the horns. Following is considerable development of the primary motive between alternations of the ripieno and concertino. Then there is a literal repetition of the opening material followed by a Coda that dramatically restates the secondary motive.
Like the “Brandenburg No. 2,” the second movement is dominated by the concertino group and abounds in lyrical splendor. An ascending octave followed by a descending seventh characterizes the motivic material of this movement. The motive is imitated within the woodwind quintet forming lush harmonies in the first part of the movement and becoming more poignant and dissonant as the movement progresses. The winds and percussion serve only as a backdrop to this movement with long sustained chords and pandiatonic clusters in the winds and soft articulations by bells and crotales. A dominant augmented ninth chord with an underlying timpani roll leads to the third movement.
The third movement is marked “Presto” and is intended to be lighthearted and extremely upbeat in spirit. The primary motive alternates between 3/4 and 7/8 meter and features the interval of the fourth within a diatonic structure. The motive is varied and passed back and forth between the concertino and ripieno. There is a secondary motive, first heard in the solo horn, that is reminiscent of the dramatic secondary motive of the first movement. Unlike the latter, this motive never plays out in its entirety and merely teases the listener. Following a literal repetition of the opening of the movement, a rousing coda closes the work.
- David R. Gillingham