Wolf Rounds was commissioned by the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami for their wind ensemble. The piece is dedicated to the group’s music director, Gary Green.
My concept of the work was to introduce a series of “circular” musical ideas that would repeat over and over until metamorphosing to a new idea that would then also be repeated in the same fashion until becoming yet another. These musics would be of different lengths so that their repeated overlaps would produce a constantly changing sonic landscape. Sometimes these ideas would repeat verbatim; at other times there would be gradual but constant development within each repetition. Some instruments would introduce new musics while others would continue to repeat their material for a longer period of time before moving on to a new idea.
My first impulse was to entitle the work “Loops,” as it seemed to me that this was an accurate description of the processes involved in composing the piece. However, this title seemed a bit prosaic. The word “loops”, though, led me to think of the Latin word “lupus,” which means “wolf.” I was put in mind of the way in which wolves circle their prey, and these predatory rounds of course reminded me of the circular nature of my musical presentation. Thus the final title: Wolf Rounds.
The structure of the piece is sufficiently obvious, I think, to require no further exegesis here. It is scored for piccolo, two flutes, three oboes, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (five players), and string bass (amplified).
Wolf Rounds was completed in Baltimore, Maryland on October 16, 2006 and lasts approximately seventeen minutes in performance.
— Christopher Rouse
This program note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with a credit to the composer.