Tales of the Sierra Madre (Wind Quintet)


Wind Quintet–21′

A wide-ranging work for wind quintet exploring the landscape and folk spirit of the American West.

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Tales of the Sierra Madre (Wind Quintet) (Download)

Wind Quintet (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet in A, Bassoon, Horn)
Duration: 21′
Premiere: Monmouth Winds, Ithaca, NY, 2016
Score and parts download

Program note

man in cowboy hat

DET at Brush Creek

One can’t predict at the outset what one will encounter on a trip, and the hills behind Wyoming’s Brush Creek Ranch provided ample room for reflection—and not a few surprises—in March 2012. “There and Back” begins in meditation, but quickly adopts a care-free Western attitude. “Venus and Jupiter” commemorates the conjunction of those planets in the March 2012 sky. “Jingle-jangle Morning” is a toccata, or capriccio, on a nagging, irregular theme. “Stone Circles” captures the wonder of happening upon several stone circles from prehistory—or at least from the previous residency. “Elegy” conveys a gentle sadness in memory of my parents, John and Mimi Thomas, who died within a year of each other in 2011-2012. “High Winds” is a blustery rondeau in 7/8 meter.

Tales from the Sierra Madre was written within sight of Wyoming’s Sierra Madre Mountains. Generous thanks are due the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. It has always been in my mind to write a quintet for winds. To be able to fulfill that ambition through a commission from my dear friend Jenny Cline for the Monmouth Winds is a special pleasure. Jenny and the Winds played the work at the 2016 48th International Horn Symposium in Ithaca, New York.

The composer gratefully acknowledges the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (Carbon County, Wyoming), which provided inspiration, superior working conditions and gracious hospitality. Sadly, Brush Creek is no longer in operation as an artist’s retreat.


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