Homages (2016)

for double quintet 

Instrumentation:

1.1.1.1. 2.2.1.1 (2nd trumpet may be played by flugelhorn)

Duration: 5.5'

I. Antiphony (Homage to Gabrieli)

II. Changing Times (Homage to Stravinsky)

III. of forgotten epochs (Homage to Ockeghem and Ives)

IV. Double (Homage to Ligeti and Carter)

V. Flight! (Homage to Adams and Strauss) 

 

Homages was commissioned by Lim Yean Hwee and the Singapore Youth Chamber Winds for the ensemble's inaugural concert. The instrumentation of a Double Quintet - of a Wind Quintet and Brass Quintet was suggested by the conductor Rodney Winther (Prof. Emeritus Cincinnati College of Music). This setup creates certain possibilities of antiphony (a stereo effect) and spatial potential, which is explored in five different homages to a handful of my favorite composers throughout history. 

 

I. Antiphony (Homage to Gabrieli) 

The stereo placement of the two ensembles placed on opposite sides of the stage pays homage to the Venetian composer Giovanni Gabrieli's antiphonal choral works once heard in the San Marco. JS Bach's Matthew Passion of double orchestras and choruses, first heard in Leipzig's Thomaskirche, is another admirable musical precedence.

 

II. Changing Times (Homage to Stravinsky) 

With two groups of five players, I was drawn to the number 5, which could be expressed simply as 3+2 or 3+2. Stravinsky comes to mind in this rhythmic mixed-meter homage where the time signatures are changing constantly (like in Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments). The title Changing Times is also a wordplay that reflects our own age and time.

 

III. of forgotten epochs (Homage to Ockeghem and Ives) 

The horns from each side of the two ensembles are cast in a pastoral duet of broad melodic lines that are placed in mensural canons that reminisces the epoch of 15th century counterpoint, namely through Ockeghem. The interruptive flurries in the high winds is a reference to another epoch, at the turn of the century, with Charles Ives' the Unanswered Question.

 

IV. Double (Homage to Ligeti and Carter) 

A playful Scherzo in the Brass, and a more legato Trio in the Woodwinds are juxtaposed simultaneously in two different speeds.

 

V. Flight! (Homage to Adams and Strauss) 

The momentum building opening is a reference to John Adams' post-minimalist Short Flight in a Fast Machine. At the climax of this homage, a quote of descending arpeggios from Strauss' Serenade is featured in the cascading descent, and gradually gears toward the point of taking flight!

© 2020 by CHEN Zhangyi