First Suite for
“First Suite for Wind Band” is a set of
five short movements, inspired by Gunnar DeFrumerie’s “Pastoral Suite”
for Flute, Harp, and Strings and by Igor Stravinsky’s Suites for Small Orchestra.
Similar to DeFrumerie’s suite (which the movement structure is loosely modeled after), much of this suite sounds
deceptively simple upon first listen. However, ingrained in each movement are subtle complexities and a passionate intensity
which gradually builds until it erupts in the climax of movement 4.
The first movement is a gentle pastoral
prelude featuring a lyrical euphonium solo.
There is peace and serenity, but also a feeling of barely-contained passion.
The second movement is a sinuous and
shifty sarabande (with an eighth note removed).
This is the most challenging movement, as it contains several tricky rhythmic elements.
The grouping of the 5/8 measures is usually 2+3 when the first two eighth notes of the melody start on the downbeat (as in the first measure)
and 3+2 when they are treated as a pickup (as in the pickup to letter G).
The third movement is a gavotte which
should never feel at ease: it should always be angsty, restless, and on
the edge of pushing
forward in tempo. There should be very little feeling of resolution (even at the cadences) until the final few measures.
The fourth movement is where the
sentiments which had been bubbling under the surface break free with a
tense and mournful
fughetta. The arrival point at letter R should be massive and almost startling; a “drop the bass” moment.
The fifth movement offers an exciting
finale in which the surplus tension is released as an adrenaline rush.
It is fiery, passionate, and aggressive.
performance on 11/30/16 by the University of Texas Symphony Band
Ryan Kelly, conductor