Instrumentation: Woodwind Quintet (flute/piccolo, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon)
Duration: 8 minutes
Commissioned by: Trade Winds Quintet

When asked by Trade Winds to compose Emblems, I was told that the piece would be played in Tanzania in a village for children and young adults and used as a teaching tool in addition to its role as a concert work. Because it was my first work for wind quintet, I wanted to convey to the students how fun it is to combine the various instruments in a number of ways to paint with the ensemble’s colors. The piece can easily be deconstructed into duos, trios, quartets and reassembled in a variety of ways to show how the music is put together and how the wind quintet operates as a single unit comprised of five instruments that are often reserved for solos. This sort of playful assembly of sounds, rhythms, and pitches create composition’s magic, lying in experimentation, trying things that might work or not, putting this with that and seeing how it turns out. My hope is that these ideas that were once conveyed to students of Trade Winds can be reflected upon in concert with others through this music; may we all be reminded to just play.

Homepage thumbnail image by Chris O'Brien.