Wind Dances is in seven short contrasting movements, each containing dance-like rhythms, both slow and fast. Having two sons who both play the clarinet, I’ve heard many a woodwind quintet, so I’ve been wanting to write for the medium for quite a while. In this instance, I also added my own instrument, the piano.
The work opens with a fast movement containing driving rhythms in the winds, which are then answered by the piano. The second movement features colorful effects in the winds and piano (slap tongue, air sounds, muted tones) leading to a long extended lyrical line, gradually orchestrated to involve all the winds. The third movement is a dynamic scherzo, with a separate middle section similar to a traditional Trio section. The slowly unfolding fourth movement is the longest of the piece and anchors the middle of the work. The fifth movement is a kind of echo of the third movement, though this time the dynamic scherzo is high and light, rather than low and dark. The sixth movement is related to the second movement, and is basically a solo cadenza for the clarinet, with a few accompanimental gestures in the piano. The seventh and final movement reprises material from the first movement, this time with new and driving dance-like gestures added.
– Pierre Jalbert