The Four Winds

The title is taken from the bible. The Four Winds are mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments: from the Old Testament, Ezekiel 37:9, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” And from the New Testament, Revelation 7:1, “I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.” These “winds” are physical and spiritual; constructive and destructive; literal and figurative. They refer both to giving life and causing death and it is this mysterious dichotomy, as well as the wondrous imagery of the winds, that serves as the inspiration for this music.

It is my intent to portray these “Four Winds” in an abstract way, painting a musical impression in each movement. To facilitate this, I am treating each wind as a unique character unto itself and featuring one of the four families of orchestral instruments in each movement. The first, entitled “Squall,” is brisk and energetic, like a sudden coastal breeze blowing from the West. It is represented by the string section which soars in dense, but not overly dissonant, clouds of pitch clusters. “Zephyr,” the second movement, is calm and light, like a cold and bitter Northern wind. The percussion propels the motion in a subtle and delicate fashion. The third wind is a warm, sweltering Southern wind, featuring richly orchestrated woodwind chorales; it is entitled “Sirocco,” after the hot, dusty and humid Saharan wind. “Cyclone” is the final wind that blows from the East. Its mood is unrelenting, fierce and overpowering; it features the brass as apocalyptic messengers.


Score Sample
Score Sample
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DATE

2010

DURATION

10 minutes

INSTRUMENTATION

3 Flutes (1st doubles G Flute, 3rd doubles Piccolo)
3 Oboes
2 Clarinets in B-flat
Bass Clarinet
3 Bassoons (3rd doubles Contrabassoon)
4 Horns in F
3 Trumpets in C
2 Trombones
Bass Trombone
Tuba
Timpani
3 Percussion
Harp
Piano/Celesta
Strings

MOVEMENTS

I.
Squall
II.
Zephyr
III.
Sirocco
IV.
Cyclone

PREMIERE

March 18, 2011, Stude Concert Hall, Rice University, Houston, TX
Rice Symphony Orchestra, Cristian Măcelaru (cond.)

RECORDING

Rice Symphony Orchestra, Cristian Măcelaru (cond.)