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Woodwinds

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Please note that this page contains works that are primarily for woodwinds. For works that incorporate woodwinds among other instruments, please visit the Mixed Chamber Ensembles page.

  • Bohemian Café (2015) 8’ • fl, ob, cl, hn, bn (or vc), db

    VIDEO
    Fifth House Ensemble

    DEDICATION
    To Cedille Records in celebration of its 25th Anniversary

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41745 • $81.99 • full score and set of parts • click to order
    114-41745M • $62.99 • set of parts • click to order
    114-41745S • $28.99 • full score • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.114417450 • $81.99 • full score and set of parts • click to order
    PR.11441745M • $62.99 • set of parts • click to order
    PR.11441745S • $28.99 • full score • click to order

    PROGRAM NOTES
    When James Ginsburg, president of Cedille Records, asked me for a piece in celebration of the label’s 25th anniversary, he suggested an intriguing instrumentation: a woodwind quintet with the addition of a double bass. Jim has been in Prague multiple times over the years, where street musicians (or “buskers”) are plentiful around the city. I personally have never been there, so I went online to see if there was footage of Prague’s buskers. I discovered a wealth of videos featuring musicians of all types – one-man bands, blues and jazz groups, classically trained string players, bagpipers, folk singers, Dixie bands, and even a very talented water goblet performer. As it turns out, Prague has a long and very rich culture of busking. I can see why Jim is enthralled with Prague!

    In my piece, I employ the musicians in various groupings to portray different styles of music. I named the piece Bohemian Café, for when I hear it, I picture myself sitting at an outdoor café in a plaza in Prague, drinking coffee, watching street musicians set up around the plaza, and listening to assorted strands of music wafting through the air.
    -S.G.

  • Phoenix Rising (2016) 10’ • flute -or- clarinet -or- saxophone

    FLUTE VERSION: AUDIO
    Christina Castellanos, flute
    Movement 1: Dying in embers
    Movement 2: Reborn in flames

    CLARINET VERSION: YOUTUBE VIDEO
    Jennifer Woodrum, clarinet

    Movement 1: Dying in embers
    Movement 2: Reborn in flames

    COMMISSIONER
    Christopher Creviston, saxophone

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    Saxophone version #114-41826 • $15.99 • click to order

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Legends of the phoenix are found in stories from ancient Egypt and Greece. While each culture possesses a range of stories encompassing the phoenix myth, these tales tend to share similar traits: a sacred bird with brilliantly colored plumage and melodious call lives for typically five hundred years; then the bird dies in a nest of embers, only to be reborn among the flames. In Egyptian stories, the phoenix gathers scented wood and spices for its funeral/rebirth pyre, then collects the ashes from its earlier incarnation and flies them to the temple of the sun in Heliopolis to offer as a tribute to the sun god. In Greek myths, the phoenix was approximately the size of an eagle and was adorned with red and gold feathers; it would fly from either India or Arabia to Heliopolis to give its offering. The bird’s association with immortality and resurrection are particularly intriguing aspects of these tales, giving numerous writers (including William Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling) a rich resource for their own stories.

    Phoenix Rising consists of two movements. I. Dying in embers represents an old phoenix who is settling on top of a pile of embers and breathing its last breath; II. Reborn in flames depicts the newly born phoenix getting its first taste of flight. Phoenix Rising was commissioned by saxophonist Christopher Creviston.
    -S.G.
  • Rites for the Afterlife (2018) 16’ • reed quintet (ob/eh, cl, sop/alto sax, bass cl, bn)
    Akropolis Reed Quintet, Calefax Reed Quintet, and the Brigham Young University Reed Quintet have exclusive performance rights until December 31, 2019.

    COMMISSIONER
    Rites for the Afterlife was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment on behalf of the Akropolis Reed Quintet, Calefax Reed Quintet, and the Brigham Young University Reed Quintet.

    PROGRAM NOTES
    The ancient Egyptian empire began around 3100 B.C. and continued for over 3000 years until Alexander the Great conquered the country in 332 B.C. Over the centuries, the Egyptian empire grew and flourished into a highly developed society. They invented hieroglyphics, built towering pyramids (including the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World), and the created many household items we still use today, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, black ink, and the forerunner of modern-day paper.

    Included among their achievements were a series of highly developed funerary practices and beliefs in the Afterlife. As the average lifespan of an Egyptian hovered around 30 years, living past the death of one’s physical body was a legitimate concern. Egyptians believed that upon death, their souls would undertake a harrowing journey through the Netherworld. If they survived the horrific creatures and arduous trials that awaited them, then their souls would be reunified with their bodies (hence the need to preserve the body through mummification) and live forever in a perfect version of the life they had lived in Egypt. To achieve this, Egyptians devised around 200 magical spells and incantations to aid souls on the path to the Afterlife. These spells are collectively called The Book of the Dead. Particular spells would be chosen by the family of the deceased and inscribed on the tomb’s walls and scrolls of papyrus, as well as on a stone scarab placed over the deceased’s heart. Subsequent collections of spells and mortuary texts, such as The Book of Gates, assisted a soul in navigating the twelve stages of the Netherworld. Not only did these spells protect and guide the soul on this dangerous path, but they also served as a safeguard against any unbecoming behavior an Egyptian did while alive. For instance, if a person had robbed another while alive, there was a spell that would prevent the soul’s heart from revealing the truth when in the Hall of Judgement.

    Rites for the Afterlife follows the path of a soul to the Afterlife. In Inscriptions from the Book of the Dead (movement 1), the soul leaves the body and begins the journey, protected by spells and incantations written on the tomb’s walls. In Passage though the Netherworld (movement 2), the soul is now on a funerary barque, being towed through the Netherworld by four of the region’s inhabitants. We hear the soul slowly chanting incantations as the barque encounters demons, serpents, crocodiles, lakes of fire, and other terrors. The soul arrives at The Hall of Judgement in movement 3. Standing before forty-two divine judges, the soul addresses each by name and gives a “negative confession” connected to each judge (i.e. “I did not rob,” “I did not do violence,” and so on). Afterwards, the soul’s heart is put on a scale to be weighed against a feather of Ma’at, the goddess of truth. If the heart weighs more than the feather, it will be eaten by Ammut, a hideous creature that lies in wait below the scale, and the soul will die a second and permanent death (this was the worst fear of the Egyptians). But if the heart is in balance with the feather, the soul proceeds onward. The final stage of the journey is the arrival at The Field of Reeds (movement 4), which is a perfect mirror image of the soul’s life in ancient Egypt. The soul reunites with deceased family members, makes sacrifices to the Egyptian gods and goddess, harvests crops from plentiful fields of wheat under a brilliant blue sky, and lives forever next to the abundant and nourishing waters of the Nile.

    Rites for the Afterlife was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment on behalf of the Akropolis Reed Quintet, Calefax Reed Quintet, and the Brigham Young University Reed Quintet.

    -S.G.
  • Stubborn as Hell (2011) 5’40” • 2 clarinets

    AUDIO

    Mélomane Duo (Kristi Hanno and Jenny Maclay), clarinets

    COMMISSIONER
    Robert Spring


    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41771 • $14.99 • set of performance scores • click to purchase

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Stubborn as Hell was commissioned by virtuoso clarinetist Robert Spring. I heard Bob perform in September 2010 when I attended his clarinet concert at Arizona State University – Tempe. Bob is one of those wondrous musicians that plays the most challenging pieces written for the instrument and make them sound effortless. When he commissioned me, I wanted to write a piece that not only reflected his technical and musical abilities, but also his great sense of humor, hence the title and premise of the piece. The “stubbornness” of the title refers to the manner in which the two instruments incessantly battle each other around the pitch D, and how they willfully get stuck repeating pitches and gestures.
    -S.G.