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Gunther Schuller

Publisher: AMP

Double Quintet for Wind and Brass Quintets (1961)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Large Ensemble (7+ players)
Year Composed
12 Minutes
Programme Note
Gunther Schuller Double Quintet for Wind and Brass Quintets (1961)
Composer Note:

In my Double Quintet I have been fascinated by the textural and timbral characteristics of the two wind groups (and frequently of splinter groups within each quintet).

Thus I have chosen two primary approaches: on the one hand, to preserve and contrast the sonoric purity of the two choirs; on the other hand to combine these in various combinations so as to achieve a maximum in sonoric depth.

The first movement initially presents each quintet separately, then combines them in two opposing choirs. Later, the two groups are split in two overlapping strands of duet combinations, and in the final phase, the total 10-instrument texture is disintegrated still further, eventually “evaporating” into silence.

The variational procedures employed in the second movement are based not on thematic variation, but on varying and developing the original structure and timbral characteristics of the “exposition.” My primary concern was to preserve or to elaborate the “mirror” aspects of the original statement (for example, the middle of each variation experiences a thickening or lightening of texture, heightening or lessening of dynamics, etc.).

The last movement alternates various duo and trio combinations with the full ten-instruments complement.

—Gunther Schuller

Mr. Schuller’s Double Quintet, a treatment of combined woodwind and brass quintets, is brilliant in its virtuoso use of instrumental color. The sustained delicacy of the slow movement and the flashing interplay of the final movement could not fail to impress with their sheer dazzle of sound.
Raymond Ericson, The New York TImes,29/04/1964
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