Faye-Ellen Silverman

Quantum Quintet

Year: 1982

Duration (in minutes): 12 1/2'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: brass ensemble, brass quintet, larger chamber ensembles - more than 4 players

Instruments: any brass, horn, trombone, trumpet, tuba

Publisher: Subito Music Corporation

Description: A National Endowment for the Arts Consortium Commission [combining the American Brass Quintet, the Catskill Brass Quintet, the Mt. Vernon Brass Players, and the Southern Brass Quintet].
“Quantum Quintet” is so titled because the work is structured, in the first and third movements, on the principle of quantum physics, that new particles are created in a particle collision. Such collisions may be seen at the beginning and the end of the first movement. The individuality of sub-atomic particles is represented, in the first movement, in contrapuntal passages in which each instrument makes use of a different interval – such as the minor third in the second trumpet and the perfect fourth in the horn. The third movement contains motion similar to the first movement, only here the rapidly moving lines cross each other, and individuality in some contrapuntal passages assumes a rhythmic nature, such as sixteenth quintuplets in the first trumpet and eighth note triplets in the French horn.
The contrasting second, slower movement is based on scalar accompaniment figures, above which the first trumpet interjects a simple, happy tune – at first slowly, and only a small fragment, then faster and with more length – only to be interrupted by the other brass. The trumpet makes several attempts to re-assert the tune – each time slower and with less confidence. Throughout all three movements, the various coloristic possibilities of muting and spacing are explored.

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