• Elizabeth Maconchy
  • Wind Quintet (1980)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Cricklade Arts Festival

  • fl.ob.cl.bsn/hn
  • 19 min

Programme Note

Wind Quintet

I have written a great deal of chamber music for alls orts of different combinations besides 12 string quartets, but this was the first time I have essayed a wind quintet. It was commissioned by the Cricklade Arts Festival 1982. It is always stimulating and amusing to do something for the first time and I enjoyed writing this piece very much. It is five short movements and plays for about 19 minutes.

No 1 is a brisk allegro with everyone working hard, but it includes several more expressive and lyrical passages, in a slightly slower tempo, on the way with frequent changes of tempo and time signatures.

No 2 is a marked poco lento: it is an interweaving of expressive lines, with the little semiquaver-dotted quaver figure with which it opens, prominent all trough.

No 3 Vivo e leggiero is a rapid tit-for-tat argument, initially between clarinet and bassoon, taken up by flute and oboe, and then joined by the horn. A brief conversation of a more leisurely kind of ensues, before the original argumentis resumed, and is hotly pursued to the end.

No 4 Andante Starts with an unhurried little duo for clarinet and horn, which becomes a trio when the flute joins in, a quartet with the oboe added and, finally, the full quintet when the bassoon takes up the theme, all very brief, however. Then more rapid decorative passages are set against the slow-moving quavers. It is essentially (indeed, like all the others) a contrapuntal piece; it closes with a brief return to the opening conversation.

No 5 The last movement is rather more substantial- a Rondo, with a genial theme, allegretto, in 12/8 time. Between each reappearance of the rondo theme the soloists in turn have an opportunity to show off: first the flute, then the bassoon, next the oboe, whose florid solo overlaps the next statement of the Rondo theme. The clarinet and horn share their honours in a racy duo. There is one more restatement of the theme, then just when it seems that it can go on for ever, the players break off and the piece ends with a snap.

Elizabeth Maconchy