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Wind Quintet

“When I compose, I rarely have a specific “program” in mind. Music tends to come to me sound-first, and then I consider any implications and titles later. In this case, I had settled on the opening melody and I had the thought to compose a work in homage to my favorite European Classical composer, Franz Haydn.

I had two goals in mind: first, to imagine what Haydn might have written if he had been exposed to a sampler plate of 20th-century recordings; and second, to write something which sounded Classical if you weren’t paying attention, and only revealed its oddities upon closer inspection. I don’t have enough hubris to say I managed the first goal, but I feel confident I did well at the second.

When submitting the work for performance, I toyed with the idea of subtitling it “Divertimento.” This in reference to the genre, which acted as a pleasing diversion from the tedium and seriousness of life, but also to the idea of using a style to divert attention away from something off-stage but, somehow, still makes itself felt. I don’t have anything in particular in mind for what this ‘other’ could be. I only suggest that, if the work were personified, it’s as if the music attempts to maintain some sense of decorum in the presence of a prankster, and doesn’t always succeed.”

– Adam Eason