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Americana Wind Quintet
by Bruce Stark
about 16 minutes, in four movements
(score 54 pages)
Belle-Kane Publications
$24.99 (US) score and parts
search youtube "Stark Americana Wind Quintet" for clips of performances

Americana Wind Quintet was commissioned in 2009 by members of the Sapporo Symphonietta Woodwind Quintet: Miyuki Sugano (fl), Yukie Hamasaka (ob), Kumiko Fuse (cl), Yasuhiro Sugano (hrn), and Kumio Maekawa (bsn). They premiered the piece in Sapporo on September 23, 2010. It was revised in 2011.

I. Spring Serenade, II. Hymn to the Dawn, III. River Song, IV. City Shuffle

Program Notes
Composed in 2009, Americana Wind Quintet was originally titled Suite For Woodwind Quintet. After its recording with the Westwood Wind Quintet in 2015 I retitled the work at the suggestion of the players, who unanimously felt that the piece had a decisively American flavor. Composed while I was living in Tokyo, perhaps a nostalgia for my musical roots was unconsciously intensified by distance.

The four movements of contrasting character bring out my favorite qualities of these instruments, and give the performers a variety of roles to play. A minor third motif played by horn in the first movement is like a recurring mantra, and other motifs and melodies also make appearances throughout the movements.

Spring Serenade introduces broad melody over a tapestry of staccato notes in the other instruments, then develops with jazz-inspired solos in the three upper winds. An abundance of melodic ideas appear, from bird-like chirps of the opening to the more robust central theme, and the instrumental solos bring new charcters into the play, each making its presence felt as the music unfolds. Hymn to the Dawn features the flute and clarinet in quiet, pastoral phrases and hymn-like passages for the entire quintet. River Song (inspired by Native American cultures) features the oboe singing over an undulating backdrop, then grows in momentum with a second statement in the upper winds as running figures are transferred to horn and bassoon. City Shuffle is a swinging, syncopated jam session in which flute , clarinet and oboe all contribute a solo in the style of jazz improvisation. I hope that, true to its title, Americana Wind Quintet brings together diverse influences to produce something nevertheless organic, with an overall character of its own.

- Bruce Stark