• Gunther Schuller
  • Diptych for Brass Quintet and Orchestra (1964)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)

arr. by Gunther Schuller

  • 3(pic)2+ca.2+bcl.3/4221/timp.perc/hp/str
  • Brass Quintet
  • 8 min

Programme Note

Composer Note:

Diptych for Brass Quintet and Orchestra is the orchestral version of a similarly titled piece originally written for brass quintet and band. In its original form it was commissioned by the New York Brass Quintet under the sponsorship of the Cornell University Music Department, Chairman William A. Campbell. The world premiere took place in Ithaca on March 22, 1964, with Mr. Campbell conducting the Cornell University Band, and the New York Brass Quintet as soloists. A first New York performance at the New York State Theater, with the composer conducting, took place on March 11, 1965. The score was finished in February, 1964.

As the title suggests, the work consists of two contrasting movements. The first of these, an adagio, explores large-surfaced textures in the orchestra, pitting these occasionally against the solo brass quintet. In the lively second part, an initial statement by the brass quintet is recapitulated two further times in an almost refrain-like fashion. Each quintet statement brings forth a response from the orchestra, leading each time to a different conclusion. The third time the music develops through a series of metric modulations, i.e., tempo changes, into a jazz-oriented climactic ending. This jazz section, with the orchestra, is interrupted just prior to the final coda by an exact recapitulation — an excerpt, as it were — from the tranquil first movement.

—Gunther Schuller