PASTEL & OIL (1995-7) suite for woodwind quintet (fl/ob/cl/hrn/bsn)
Morning song; Scherzo; Nocturne; Waltz
Duration: 10 minutes
Programme note Pastel & Oil takes inspiration from four paintings. ‘Morning Song’ relates to The Sunlit Tower by Australian artist Lloyd Rees, ‘Scherzo’ and ‘Nocturne’ to Nicotiana and Jack-in-the-Pulpit, paintings of flowers by American artist Georgia O’Keeffe. In ‘Nocturne’ the flower’s black petal and oriental-like white stamen are reflected by the oboe and bassoon duet in the piece’s middle section, with a sense of richness and dark mystery. ‘Waltz’ follows an untitled pastel by Cheryl Stoll Thygeson, depicting a celestial form in the shape of an S-like spiral. This radiant being dances to a gentle, easy waltz with some rhythmic play between twos and threes. One of my main aims in this suite was to give prominence to all five instruments, and in particular to bring out the melodic and expressive character of the horn and bassoon, often the cinderellas of woodwind ensembles.