Sinfonia avventurosa (2018)
for double wind quintet and string bass
Duration: 12 minutes
Sinfonia avventurosa was composed for the Wisconsin Wind Orchestra’s “Night at the Italian Opera.” Therefore, throughout the compositional process, I kept operatic musical ideas in mind. My goal was to imbue the piece with the excitement of an overture as well as the impression of beautiful solo singing. I have never been to Italy, but as the piece progressed, I felt like I was on a journey through a wide valley with mountains in the distance, starry nights, and some drama along the way. Perhaps it was an adventure through an Italian wilderness of my imagination. The adventure begins with an introduction that presents two of the main musical ideas. First, an oboe solo blossoms into a melody that I call the bel canto theme. The first idea is immediately countered by an explosive angular gesture in the upper woodwinds that descends to a low point before rebounding into the upper register. This V-shape is a prominent aspect of the piece that is heard several times. After the introduction, one can follow a modified sonata form. The fast-tempo first theme starts with the bassoons playing a short motive in d minor that gradually grows in intensity until it reaches a major key dance-like conclusion. The second theme area slows down and features extended solos for the clarinet and flute. The development returns to the original fast tempo and is marked by a sense of pulse, off-kilter rhythmic effects, and imitative polyphony. The second part of the development is an adagio that finally allows some space for the bel canto theme of the introduction. After a pause, the solo string bass begins the recapitulation. It is from this low point of the piece that the music gradually ascends from the depths to its conclusion.