The original title for this composition was Eight Pieces for Wind Quintet. They received their first performance, given by the New Music Group of Scotland (the commissioners) at the Reid Hall Edinburgh, on 23 April 1991. I have since rewritten these pieces, and integrated them into four substantial movements, and renamed the work 'Intarsia', a term borrowed from knitting when integrating patterns and colours.
In a rather spontaneous frame of mind, when working with the individual and rather colourful instruments of the wind quintet, I composed 'Intarsia' without any strict compositional rules, or preconceived form. My only aim was to enjoy myself, composing several individual pieces, simple in form, colourful, virtuosic, and rewarding to play and listen to.
Memories of my participation in the local wind band in my home town of Akureyri, as a teenager and self-taught flute player, came to mind as I wrote 'Intarsia'. My piccolo solos - when marching along the hopelessly uneven roads in my home town - will always bring to mind the rather humorous aspects of amateur wind bands, and wind players.
In each movement, one particular instrument is given a leading role. The piccolo is first, but as the work unfolds one instrument after another comes forward to claim the attention of the listener in a substantial solo: the bassoon is last. The work ends with a brisk and rhythmic coda, where all the instruments are on equal terms.
© Haflidi Hallgrímsson