Canfield: Quintet after Schumann for Woodwind Quartet and Piano
Code: JP5132 ISMN: 979-0-3019-0513-5
There are two versions of this composition: (1) Saxophone Quartet and Piano (JP4055) and (2) Woodwind Quartet (flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon) and piano [JP5132 on this web page].
Quintette nach Schumann was commissioned by the Oasis Saxophone Quartet in its desire to have David DeBoor Canfield contribute another work in his series of pieces written in the style of older composers who never happened to write for certain instruments. The Quintet was consequently originally composed for saxophone quartet and piano, and was begun on February 23, 2013 and completed on April 25th of that same year. The version listed here for woodwind quartet (flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon) and piano was prepared by the composer in October and November of 2016.
In this work, the composer attempted to capture the melodic patterns, harmonic movement, and textures of Robert Schumann, who wrote several works for winds. However, in this work Canfield, even more than in his Trio after Brahms, left some of his own distinct musical fingerprints in the work. There are a number of places that sound more like Canfield writing in a romantic style than they do the style of the German master. There are also some places that sound more like Brahms than Schumann, but the composer liked these too much to try to rewrite them to mold them into Schumann's style. Sometimes a composer must let a piece take its course.
The four movements consist of a declamatory first movement, the longest of the quintet, and cast in a modified sonata allegro form, the scherzo-like theme and variations second movement, a slow and rather simple third movement, and a driving finale with a tempo marking that translates as 'almost faster than possible.' The latter was brought to Canfield's mind by the tempo marking in Schumann's G-Minor Piano Sonata, 'as fast as possible,'followed by a mind-boggling subsequent marking of 'più mosso'(a paradox resolved by the fact that the music becomes easier at that point). As is typical in 19th-century chamber music, the piano is given the lion's share of the notes, although the composer made an effort to give each of the four wind players a challenging and rewarding part as well.
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