About this work:
In addressing audiences consisting largely of other composers or at least of professional musicians, most composers are inclined to point out what they believe are captivating details of workmanship in their pieces or to explain the rationale which governed their selection of pitches, rhythms, and the like. However absorbing such matters
may be while composing, once having completed a piece, I am more concerned with its performance and its possible reception by those who will hear it. It is this concern which has led me in recent years to note the extent to which many of my compositions, in
particular Quintet for brass instruments, seem to reflect principles of dramaturgy, especially as they pertain to the character of sections, their development, the order in which they are arranged and, most importantly, the pace which I choose for each section in relation to dynamics and articulation.
As an aid in interpreting the second movement of Quintet I have gone so far as to suggest an imaginary scene in which personages behave in specific ways. In an effort to convey to the performers a character which can be achieved only by combining tempo, dynamics, articulation and timbre in a particular way, a character which cannot be conveyed merely by specifying these elements separately, I have occasionally returned to the practice, widespread during the nineteenth century, of using descriptive terms like the Italian word rude, which appears at the beginning of the first movement. Because the third movement is based on the last movement of Brahms's Sonata op. 120, no. 1, one might even speculate that the very choice of model may have been suggested in part by Brahms's own success in establishing and developing character according to principles of rhetoric.
Whatever the significance of such observations, I would like to believe that this quintet, together with the rest of my work, can be satisfying in many ways, on a variety of levels, to listeners of diverse backgrounds, to conscientious performers, and even to some composers.
Version: for brass instruments
Year composed: 1981
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Brass Quintet
Instrumentation: 1 Horn in F, 2 Trumpet, 1 Trombone, 1 Tuba