SOMETHING OLD SOMETHING NEW
West Texas Winds
October 25, 2020 | 3:00PM
First United Methodist Church Midland


Wind Quintet in C-Major, Op. 79
August Friedrich Klughardt (1847-1902)
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Allegro vivace
III. Andante grazioso
IV. Adagio – Allegro molto vivace

By the time that German composer August Klughardt began writing music (during the last half of the 1800’s), two important musical forces were deeply influencing every composer’s way of thinking. The first of these influences was the war that raged over the future of music with each of two philosophies collecting their acolytes – the New German School of music (the tone poems of Liszt and the operas of Wagner) vying with the Conservative composers (the symphonies and chamber works of Brahms and Schumann). The second factor was a development both mechanical and musical: technological advancements to wind instruments were making them more agile and with wider ranges, and easier to play, than ever before and it was transforming the way composers were writing music.

Into that mix came Klughardt who, in his youth, adored Liszt. But late in his life, and indeed, shortly before his early death, he began to deeply appreciate the Conservative path. The result was something magical, producing a wonderful combination of both ideologies. With the richness and nimbleness now available in wind instruments and his growing fondness for more conservative musical structures, Klughardt wrote his Wind Quintet between 1898-1901.  It has become one of the cornerstones of the quintet literature for both its Classical clarity and its deeply Romantic underpinnings.

One of the most noticeable hallmarks about Klughardt’s Quintet is how rich and expansive his ensemble sounds.  Perhaps as no other composer, Klughardt understood the possibilities of this particular set of wind instruments (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon) and how “orchestral” they could sound. But no less expansive are Klughardt’s themes themselves. The first movement delves into long and lush melodies over rich and complex harmonies – a nod to his New German School forebears. The second movement, though, is simple and bucolic, reminiscent of those lovely middle movements by Mendelssohn and Mozart. The third movement is a magical mix of both Schools, where instrument pairings and inventive timbres create a folk-fairytale-like atmosphere – the music is never heavy and yet manages to be richly sonorous. The finale tips yet another hat to the Praeludiums of the early Baroque with a somber and beautiful slow introduction. What follows is an exploitation of just what these five wind instruments can do when set loose, and it’s virtuosic and breathtaking to its end.

© Max Derrickson


October Meditation
Michael Kibbe (b. 1945)

Michael Kibbe (b. 1945 -) is a freelance performer and prolific composer with over 200 works for orchestra, wind-band, voice, and chamber ensemble.  Kibbe was born in San Diego, California and began composing in junior high school. He commenced his college studies at San Diego State College (now California State University San Diego) where he composed his first wind quintet. He then took a three-year break from school to serve in the U.S. Army, after which he continued his studies at New Mexico State University, California State University Northridge, and University of California Los Angeles. He was the oboist and arranger with the Los Angeles based North Wind Quintet for seventeen years.

In addition to composing and arranging for traditional ensembles, Kibbe has taken the unusual route of composing music for unspecified ensembles, carefully constructing pieces that could be performed with any combination of instruments. These interesting works present hundreds of possible sounds and combinations, opening doors for musicians in families, places of worship, and small schools - situations in which an unusual combination of instruments might make a choice of music too limiting or even impossible otherwise.

Regarding October Meditation, Michael Kibbe writes:

The October Meditation is a piece I wrote for use at Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year and a Holy day, which falls in September or October. The opening horn call is somewhat reminiscent of the shofar, or ram's horn, which traditionally begins the service. The music also uses a modal harmonic language similar to many traditional Jewish pieces.


Wind
Alex Weiser (b. 1989)

Alex Weiser is a contemporary American composer from New York City. His published music spans the past twelve years and has focused largely on chamber works for a wide variety of both traditional and creative instrumentations. He has also written quite a few orchestral pieces, extended vocal works, and short songs. Weiser’s Jewish heritage has played a major role in his compositions. Among other examples, his song cycle, And All the Days Were Purple, explores contemporary Jewish identity and includes songs in Yiddish, and his recently completed opera, State of the Jews, takes the life of Theodor Herzl as its subject. Weiser is also the co-founder and director of Kettle Corn New Music, an organization whose mission is to present high quality new music in an environment that is relaxed and entertaining, yet focused and thought-provoking.

The composer provides the following notes for his 2013 quintet, Wind:

Woodwind instruments create their sound through blowing air. In Wind, I sought to explore the beauty of this timbre in each of the instruments, alone and in combination.

The result is a ruminative exploration of the sound world of the woodwind quintet. Its lyrical and wistful music flows through shifting harmonies and keys. The texture undulates and grows, the instruments creating a big gust of wind together.

Wind starts quietly and with a feeling of simplicity, then gradually grows in volume and complexity. The effect of freely blowing and shifting winds is created in part by the use of long tones with “hairpins” (a crescendo followed by a diminuendo), which occur simultaneously but with differing start and end points.  Weiser also generously employs cross-rhythms (for example having one instrument play six notes to a beat while another plays four), and he shifts quickly between sextuplets, quintuplets, and sixteenth notes within the same instrument to help create the “gusting” effect.  After the wind storm comes the calm, in which the opening motives are gently re-stated before gradually fading away.


Quintet in C
Claude Arrieu (1903-1990)
I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Allegro scherzando
IV. Adagio
V. Allegro vivace

Claude Arrieu was a classically trained musician from an early age. She became particularly interested in works by Bach and Mozart, and later, Igor Stravinsky. Dreaming of a career as a virtuoso pianist, she entered the Conservatoire de Paris in 1924. She became a piano student of Marguerite Long and took classes from Georges Caussade, Noël Gallon, Jean Roger-Ducasse and Paul Dukas. In 1932, she received first prize for composition. From this point on, she developed her personal style. She wrote music in all styles, composing works of “pure music” as well as music for theatre, film, radio, and music hall, contributing her own voice to every situation, dramatic or comic, with a particular taste for rhythm and imagery. Her musical gift is typified by its ease of flow and elegance of structure. Vivacity, clarity of expression, and a natural feel for melody are her hallmarks. Written by Marie Louise Simon under the pen name of Claude Arrieu, French composer and pianist Claude Arrieu wrote her Quintet in C in the year 1955. It is in five movements of contrasting tempos: fast-slow-fast-slow-fast. The fast movements are very playful in nature giving each instrument their turn in the limelight. The 2nd movement has nice, easygoing melodies in which the listener might imagine the journey of an afternoon walk. The 4th movement is more pensive in nature, but still easygoing and light in nature.



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