Sinfonietta for wind ensemble augmented with string quartet
Eichenbaum, Daniel Adam
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A small consort of strings joins a full-sized wind ensemble in Sinfonietta. Although it is not a concerto, Sinfonietta flips the classical notion of an orchestra on its head. Whereas the Classical orchestra represented a string ensemble with wind and brass coloration, Sinfonietta takes a full wind ensemble and adds strings for coloration, blending and melding the string timbre with the wind ensemble medium. As this work is not a concerto, balancing the relatively weak quartet of strings with the full wind ensemble creates challenges, which Sinfonietta addresses in four ways. It uses the strings as individual and string tutti soloists with sparse accompaniment. It creates windows inside heavy textures to allow the strings to appear. It doubles the strings with instruments of similar timbre to add strength in fuller tutti sections. Finally, it uses the disparity of acoustical power between the strings and full wind ensemble to create dramatic tension. Sinfonietta relies upon American folk music as a point of departure along with the unique sound combinations available with this instrumentation. The pentatonic melodies, open harmonic intervals, and regular phrase structure serve as building blocks for the music. The sound of the human voice, integral to the singing of folk tunes, is embraced in the ornamentation of the solo lines. Along with this mimicry is a moment of actual singing by members of the ensemble. Since wind players, brass players, and vocalists all require a breath to make their music, Sinfonietta also celebrates the sound of the human breath. Written into the score are instructions for the whole ensemble to breathe audibly together. This airy, musical sound is integral to both the sound of the human voice as well as the sound of a pipe organ, the timbre of which is emulated at the piece's final climax.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- Acknowledgements -- Instrumentation -- Performance notes -- Sinfonietta for wind ensemble augmented with string quartet -- Vita