Fragments for wind octet was composed beginning in 1992 and worked on sporadically until 2010. It uses a compositional technique as if themes placed on a bulletin board are moved around for each instrument. The motives recall the traditional figures played when harmonies – ensembles of pairs of woodwinds and horns - were in vogue: leaping clarinet arpeggios, bouncy bassoon bass lines, sprightly rhythms and lyrical oboe melodies. The horns, however, play a corrupted version of ‘horn fifths’ throughout without sharing it.
After a while an oboe introduces an ornate triplet figure as if to dare others to copy it. When they eventually take up the dare, it results in a chaotic scramble. The clarinet and bassoon calm things down and the bulletin board exchanges are restored.
The piece is dedicated to my Toronto Symphony and Toronto Chamber Winds bassoon colleague, Mitch Clarke with thanks. We happily played many wind octets and other lesser music together. For 2Ob, 2Cl (B-flat), 2Bn & 2Hn (F). Moderately difficult.
Due to size limitations, the sound file represents only the end of the piece and does not match the score page.