Spirit and Spice

Spirit and Spice is an upbeat, modern piece for woodwind quintet. It is a lot of fun for performers and audience, alike! The jazzy feel uses lots of contemporary harmonies and rhythms. Much of the piece has a big-band feeling. The melody gets handed off to each instrument, allowing each instruments a chance to shine. Listen to the marvelous performance by the Ensemble a la Carte quintet, in the audio recording.

The Pripet Marshes (for string quartet and clarinet)

The Pripet Marshes is a winner of the 2003 Marmor Composition Award. The purpose of this competition is to encourage the composition of "inventive, and playable" chamber music featuring the clarinet. The Pripet Marshes is a rhapsody for clarinet quintet (clarinet plus string quartet, or for clarinet plus string orchestra). It was inspired by the poem, The Pripet Marshes by Irving Feldman. This haunting poem describes how the narrator might put himself in the shoes of an omnipotent power, and transplant his friends to a Jewish village in the northwest Ukraine during World War II. Each person is a unique character with a human charm and frailties. Then he would snatch the village back to safety before the arrival of the Nazis. While the music does not try to mirror the story--this is not programmatic music--it does try to reflect the mood of the poem. Jewish-style melodies sweep through the piece with a whisper of Klezmer.

Against All Odds

Against All Odds is for brass quintet (2 trumpets, French horn, trombone, tuba). This is a dramatic--but mostly quiet--piece with a driving rhythm, with contemporary harmonies and lyrical melodies.

Sunday Evening in the Snow

Sunday Evening in the Snow is an educational piece for woodwind quintet. This piece has an ABA form. The first section starts slowly, and the second section--though not changing in tempo--has a faster rhythm. Full of counterpoint, each instrument gets a chance to shine by playing the melody. It is an old melody I composed as a teen-ager, but revived for this unusual ensemble. Listen to the MP3 recording of the live performance by Shelly Suarez (flute), Gina Ebhardt (clarinet), David LaMay (clarinet), Laura Siberts (oboe), and Steve Rennings (bassoon).

Scalawag Takes a Catnap

Scalawag Takes a Catnap is for piano quintet (piano, two violins, viola, and cello). A scalawag is a mischief-maker. This piece mirrors the scheming and conniving that a scalawag uses to cause all sorts of trouble. But even trouble-makers need to take a rest once in a while. During those brief moments, the world seems to take a deep sigh of relief. But in truth, the scalawag simply uses his brief rest to think up new plots and when he wakes up, look out!