Opus number: 39

Title: Quintessence

Instrumentation: woodwind quintet: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn

Date written: 1993, Boston

Length: ten minutes

Commissioner and dedicatee: Martin Frank

Premiere performance: Ariel Woodwind Quintet: Clare Nielsen, flute, Emily Gaberman, oboe, Rebecca Leonard, clarinet, Jonathan MacGowan, bassoon, and Ellen Donohue-Saltman, horn,September 29, 1994, Jordan Hall, Boston

Important subsequent performances: St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble: Elizabeth Mann, flute, Melanie Feld, oboe, William Blount, clarinet, Marc Goldberg, bassoon, William Purvis, French horn, March 26, 1997, Dia Center, New York City

Recording: tape of Ariel Quintet premiere performance at NEC Firestone library

Program notes:Quintessence consists of three movements: Prelude and Fugue, Double Variation, and Scherzo. The Prelude dramatizes each instrument as an individual and the Fugue emphasizes their similarity. In the second movement, Double Variation, there are two themes that each have the same harmony. The first theme is original. The second theme is called “Idumea” (pronounced I–doo´–ma) and is a nineteenth-century hymn whose first line of text is “And am I born to die?” The Scherzo is a jazzy finale with a trio that parodies the second movement’s Idumea melody. The work was completed in January of 1993 and was first introduced by the Ariel Quintet in Boston. Quintessence was commissioned by Dr. Martin Frank, a Pennsylvania cardiologist and amateur clarinetist.

Quintessence received its New York premiere by the St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra Ensemble in March 1997.