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Gillian Whitehead: Quintet;...Embedded video
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Because of the limitations of range of the instruments (only the piano has extremes of range), their different tuning systems and the fact that only the clarinet among the wind instruments has possibilities of extended techniques. This piece explores more "classical" ideas than some of my other recent pieces. The work uses a set of six notes as its basic idea: sounded together they have a restless quality, but the structure of the set provides both diversity and connection between the sound worlds of the piece.
Quintet is in a single movement with several sections. At the outset, a variety of ideas and textures are presented, not unlike moment form, but not using the extremities of classical moment form. A second section, over a piano pedal, initiates an exchange between the bassoon and other instruments. This leads to a rapid scherzo-like section, with a monodic trio. It is closely followed by a slow movement, based on a close-range melody that is a tribute to Hirini Melbourne, who died during the writing of this section. The oboe cadenza which follows is the structural centre of the quartet, and is followed by a reworking in reverse of the material already presented. The ending leaves the piece unresolved.
Quintet was commissioned by Chamber Music New Zealand, with funding from Creative New Zealand, for the Brisbane- based Southern Cross Soloists, who included it in Chamber Music New Zealand's 2003 Celebrity Season.
10 Jul 2003: Premiered by the Southern Cross Soloists; Regent on Broadway, Palmerston North on a Chamber Music New Zealand tour.
12 Jul 2003: Performed by the Southern Cross Soloists on a Chamber Music New Zealand tour