Four etudes

for wind quintet; 11′ (1999)

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composer’s note:

I wrote these four etudes my very first year in graduate school, on assignment from a composition professor who was skeptical of my Romantic leanings, and challenged me to write some music using other 20th-century techniques. So I wrote these etudes as an answer to that challenge. The first etude uses a quirky adaptation of pitch class set theory to create a kind of strange jig. The second uses quartal harmony as a jumping-off point for a pastoral song. The third uses a 12-tone row in fairly traditional form, but in the end takes that row and gives it a lush chorale harmonization in quasi-tonal harmony. The last etude (my favorite) is entirely written in mirrored melodic and harmonic contours, mirrored both vertically around G-natural, and horizontally (using countermelodies that are exactly backwards from the melody)… but uses all this mirroring to write a catchy tune in 5/4 inspired by funk and R&B bass lines. After my professor saw these etudes, he gracefully accepted that I was the heart-on-sleeve romantic I am.
Wind Quintet sample