This original seven-movement work for wind quintet was commissioned by the Aspen Wind Quintet. It was premiered in 1994 in New York City at the Frick Collection by Bärli Nugent, flute, Robert Ingliss, oboe, Todd Levy, clarinet, Chris Komer, horn, and Susan Heineman, bassoon. The movements are as follows: “Alborada”, a slow introduction; “Son”, with an ostinato Latin bass line in the bassoon and horn; “Habañera”, a trio movement for flute, clarinet and bassoon in the style of Ravel; “Vals Venezolano”, a lively Venezuelan waltz; “Dizzyness”, an homage to the late, great Dizzy Gillespie; “Contradanza”, an upbeat Cuban dance honoring Ernesto Lecuona; and “Afro”, which begins with a flute solo, followed by an energetic, rhythmic six-eight dance over an African ostinato.
Aires Tropicales for woodwind quintet makes for an unusual recital work, and the individual movements also work well for jobs or educational concerts. Scored for flute (doubling on piccolo with optional alto flute), oboe (doubling on English horn), clarinet, horn, and bassoon.
The order of the last two movements may be switched so that the piece ends with the “Contradanza”, instead of “Afro”.
— Paquito D'Rivera
This program note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with a credit to the composer.