The Bells (winds)
three fantasies for wind quintet; PARTS INCLUDED
Preview: a sample PDF of The Bells, for wind quintet
Duration: 11 minutes; 20 pages
Instrumentation: wind quintet
Difficulty level: moderate concert level
Written: fall, 2010 for solo guitar; arranged for wind quintet September 2013
Recording: as guitar solo: on the 2014 CD Elemental by Frank A. Wallace, Gyre, April 2014.
These are midi renditions from the Finale Garritan Personal Orchestra
Since the day I walked into San Francisco Conservatory of Music, I was challenged to become a melodist. That’s a fancy way of saying that I was forced to take voice lessons in order to make it through sight-singing class – yes, my voice was that bad. Actually I was extremely shy in high school and had never dared sing and mostly mumbled in public (and, of course, with my parents!)
Skipping forward a few decades, I have had the desire to “arrange” several of my guitar solos for string quartet or other sustaining instruments. Having sung in choirs and small ensembles certainly effects some of my composition. And so it seemed like a natural to “realize” those natural voices in The Bells. It is quite a revelation to hear a four or five note chord that is simple a “chord” on the guitar suddenly be screaming out with the support of five sets of lungs blowing into such a variety of wood and metal.
These are my original notes for the songs.
d’Orleans The round Orleans, Beaujancy is woven into a spacious fabric of dissonant chords, melody pealing high above in harmonics. I re-discovered this piece after it lay dormant for over a year, having totally forgotten this little “experiment” in dissonant chord structures. I was pleased to find how much sonority was possible. The major 7th interval is used repeatedly and creates it’s own beating vibrato.
d’Angelus I was honored to be asked by Norbert Dams to write a piece for his 60th year in which he plans to do 60 concerts around the world. I had composed d’Orleans on a whim two years before and had had the thought that I wanted to write more “impressionistic” pieces in this vein. Norbert’s piece uses a series of notes generated by his name and the name of his publishing house, Daminus: FGBBEBC DAEC DAEAFEC and a chromatic variation A#BDA#C#DE CAAD# CAAFA#FD#.
In the well The third piece, written for Marek Pasieczny, is the most complicated: major 7th intervals, note sets determined by Marek’s name, and an unusual version of the round “Ding dong bell, pussy is in the well” that I learned years ago from a wonderful family of singers, George and Lucy Semler.