The Wittenberg music department hosted several woodwind professors in a Woodwind Quintet concert on April 24. It showcased Lori Atkins on flute, Lisa Grove on oboe, Richard York on clarinet, Joseph Hessman on bassoon and Colvin Bear on French horn. Atkins only performed during the first two of three pieces, and in their final piece, Christopher Durrenberger, one of the piano teachers and the Head of the Department of Music, played piano with the remaining four instruments.
The first piece, “Petite Offrande Musicale,” was composed by Nino Rota, who also wrote the score for the first two films in “The Godfather” series. You can’t help but be reminded of a film score when listening to “Petite Offrande Musicale,” with the lively contrast of the reedy oboe and the deep, melodious French horn.
The second piece was arranged from the 45-minute full orchestral symphony, “Scheherazade,” composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and arranged by Jonathan Russell. The arranger shortened the work substantially to only 20 minutes, weaving in the main motives “Scheherazade” is known for and, according to the program notes, “[presenting] the basic story line of the original orchestral work.”
The original symphony was inspired by “One Thousand and One Nights,” the collection of Middle Eastern folk tales that included Aladdin’s Lamp and Sinbad’s Voyages, although these two stories were not a part of the original collection but were added by European translators – the more you know.
The final piece was a Beethoven quintet for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon, with three movements. The quintet was a classic Beethoven piece, with contrasting styles between the movements and themes that were expanded and developed.
Now, you may be asking yourself, why is a French horn in a woodwind quintet? It’s not a woodwind instrument, it’s brass. But according to the Woodwind Chamber Music Repertoire website, the French horn was introduced into small woodwind ensembles because the warmth of its sound blends nicely with woodwinds, and our music professors did an excellent job of proving that.