Down Quicksand Alleys (2001) [pdf score] [pdf parts]
woodwind quintet, piano, and optional narrator (21”)
Based on three poems by Nina Corwin
Down Quicksand Alleys was composed and performed for the 2001 Chicago Humanities Festival. The three poems of Nina Corwin are the inspiration for the music. Each movement tries to capture the essential emotion of each poem. “Insomnia” deals with the restless feelings of sleeplessness and the annoying ticking of an alarm clock. “The Chosen” is haunted by an eighth-note figure in the piano running through most of the movement and leading to a climatic free section for all the winds. “Hypervigilance” features virtuoso passages for each of the winds and a piano cadenza which leads to overlapping metric modulations in all the wind parts and a return to the music of the first movement. I tried to evoke the feeling of walking ever faster to escape an unknown pursuer.
It is suggested by the composer that the poetry should be narrated before each movement.