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Joan Tower

Publisher: AMP

Island Prelude (wind quintet) (1989)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
Wind Quintet
Year Composed
10 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)

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Score and Part(s) Score and Part(s)

Programme Note
Joan Tower Island Prelude (wind quintet) (1989)
Related works:
Island Prelude (oboe and string orchestra)
Island Prelude (oboe and string quartet)
Island Prelude (wind quintet)
Composer Note:

This work starts with a very slow-moving consonant landscape that gradually becomes more active and dissonant. Above this terrain, the oboe emerges as a slightly more prominent and melismic line which in turn activates the surrounding chords. Finally, the oboe releases its contained energy in two short cadenzas ruling upwards in a burst of fast notes that lead into a final, quiet coda. This last section is again very slow, sustained, high and distant.

The island [of the title] is remote, lush, tropical with stretches of white beach interspersed with thick green jungle. Above is a large, powerful, and brightly colored bird which soars and glides, spirals up, and plummets with folded wings as it dominates but lives in complete harmony with its island home.

— Joan Tower
9 April 1989
Nancy Clauter, oboe
Kerr Cultural Center, Scottsdale, AZ

The Chameleon Arts Ensemble opened with Joan Tower's lovely 1989 Island Prelude in its wind quintet incarnation. (It also comes packaged as an orchestral piece or a string quartet with oboe.) Lush, serene wind chords create an opalescent soundscape over which the oboe, gorgeously played by Nancy Dimock, soars and swoops in increasingly active volutes and trills; the ensemble joins the oboe in a final orgy of birdcalls and trills.
Susan Larson, Boston Globe,1/26/1999
The concert's main attraction, however, was the presentation of two works by American composer Joan Tower: Wings, for solo clarinet; and the first performance of Island Prelude, written on commission by and for Quintessence.... In Island Prelude, the performers often played long legato phrases that produced organic sonorities....Each player had moments of prominence that shaped the work into kaleidoscopic sounds and patterns.
Dmitri Drobatschewsky, Arizona Republic,4/11/1989
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