Wind Ensemble and Percussion


MIDI files are from the Second Edition, which was rearranged in September 2000.

Written in the summer of 1998, "Olio" was commissioned by Joe Ehrenberger specifically for a unique blend of percussion and winds on a Senior Recital. Having just finished The Hero, this light-hearted piece was my attempt at something completely different. The song progresses through three movements, passing melodies and motives between instruments and always pressing ahead of the downbeat. The percussion is scored, by request, to complement and support the winds without ever becoming the only focal point of the ensemble.

The word "Olio" is defined as a mixture, a medley, or a collection of miscellaneous pieces. Indeed, the first movement is composed of many fragments and melodies, while staying within the bounds of standard Sonata Allegro form. The first theme played by flutes and clarinet introduces a three-note motive which will ultimately tie all three movements together. This theme is then repeated by the trumpets, shifted over by one beat. In these melodies and later ones, the careful ear can detect phrases influenced by Prokofiev, Sch?nberg, and other notable composers. The development of the first movement has been described as "having an exotic Eastern" sound, and is driven by the solo work of the oboe. After a brush with the dark side, the movement returns to its carefree and light-hearted feeling in the recapitulation.

Movement II is written around a continuous bass vamp. The style is much different from the first movement, but the similarities appear with the early introduction of the three-note motive by the solo horn. The melody, played by solo flute, vibraphone, and finally trumpets is based on the development theme of the first movement.

The final movement is written in a modified rondo form, and the melodies are structured as in the first movement. After a slow introduction, the flutes play a melody based on the inversion of the three-note motive. This melody is then shifted one beat and played by the trumpet, as in the first movement. A slower tempo allows the solo oboe to repeat one of the less-developed melodies from the second movement, followed by a repeat of the original material. The movement gradually increases in speed and intensity, taking the light and jaunty feel of the first movement and turning it into a boisterous free-for-all. On the final repeat of the melody by the trumpets, the flutes play the original melody from the first movement in counterpoint. The piece ends in a flurry of runs and syncopation throughout the ensemble.

This piece was rearranged for my Fifth-Year Recital. For more commentary, please see the recital program in the "Other Commentary" section.

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