for Woodwind Quintet

2nd Place Winner, 2004 Composers Guild
International Competition!

Package includes score, parts and a CD of the premiere performance by the Equinox Chamber Players

Price: $50
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Many species migrate, periodically moving en masse from one locale to another. The motivation to migrate is instinctive, tied to food, mating, or seasonal comfort. Sometimes the numbers are impressive, as during the single hour when 9000+ Broadwing Hawks flew over Hook Mountain, Rockland County NY. But this is nothing compared to the 120 million Red Crabs which scramble across Christmas Island in Australia! The inspiration for this work though came from my childhood, when I would peer into the waters of the Rogue River in Oregon watching the bruised and battered Steelhead Salmon battle their way upstream to miraculously find the exact spot where they were born, to mate, and then to die. That sense of awe and wonder remains today, years later as I continue to observe Nature’s blessings. I am grateful to the Equinox Chamber Players for their faith and trust in my craftsmanship, and for providing the commission and funds to enable me to turn awe and wonder into pitch and rhythm.

Mvt. 1: Salmon Salmon mp3
After hatching, salmon fry live from one to three years in the stream where they were born, then swim downstream to the ocean. After several years in the ocean, Nature’s call brings them home. My musical setting expresses this call, the perilous journey upstream, a triumphant return, and death.

Mvt. 2: Red Crabs Crabs mp3
At the beginning of the wet season (usually October/November), millions of Red Crabs migrate from their burrows in the rain forest to the coast, to breed and release eggs into the sea.Then they return to their borrows by retracing their steps. Highways are sometimes closed for brief periods to allow them safe crossing. Still, one published estimate is that 1 million are killed on the roads!

Mvt. 3: Broadwing Hawks
Hawks mp3
Every year, on or about September 18, depending on the winds and weather, the Broadwing Migration peaks on top of Hook Mountain. Thousands of raptors ride the thermal updrafts, spiraling higher and higher, then they glide to the next thermal, often miles away. The soaring spirals of birds create “kettles” which can include hundreds of hawks riding the same updraft. Once when a Broadwing made a spectacular move just above our heads, I said aloud, “Gee, I wish I could do that.” A veteran hawk-watcher replied, “Yep, son. That’s why we all are up here.”

Mvt. 4: Three-toed Sloths Sloths mp3
This movement is a jest, a spoof of minimalism, both migratory and musical. Since the Three-toed sloth spends almost its entire life hanging upside down in a tree,“migration” consists in going up and down a tree VERY short distances indeed, VERY, VERY slowly.

Mvt. 5: Spiny Lobsters Lobsters mp3
There are several species of spiny lobster around the world, none of which have claws. Once the migration begins, they march night and day single file along the ocean floor. They stay in line by placing their antennae on the lobster in from of them creating a line that is up to 60 lobsters long! Scuba divers who have seen the sight always remark about the comedic aspect. The quintet is used as a military percussion ensemble to call the “troops” to order, then the bassoon begins the trek. Presumably, some younger lobsters don’t take the march seriously, but danger is always lurking in the deep, and the march soon resumes, to end with a jazzy finale.