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Common Threads

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Kimberly Archer

Kimberly Archer

General Info

Year: 2016
Duration: ca. 7:50
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Kimberly Archer
Cost: Score and Parts – contact Kimberly Archer


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Frisky would be a good descriptor for the metric structure of Common Threads. Puckish humor, jubilance, and down to earth lyricism are also hallmarks of Kim Archer’s latest composition. The piece evolved from early thoughts related obliquely to jazz (“How about something built on rhythm changes?”) to random octatonic wisps, through an imperfectly remembered Brubeck classic, bouncing off Leonard Bernstein and landing improbably in Australia.

The common threads in Common Threads are myriad. You’ll hear structural threads in harmonic, rhythmic, and metric patterns; you’ll hear threads through allusions to common music styles; and you’ll hear threads that help tie the entire program together. It is a sonic Grand Central Station, with a flash mob performing Bohemian Rhapsody in the Main Concourse while an out-of-work actress considers spending her last few dollars for lunch at the Oyster Bar...

... where she sits down next to Morton Gould and the two strike up a nostalgic conversation. Remember, it was Dana Wilson who opened the door through which our minds can wander so freely. Although much older than the other composers on the program, Gould fits perfectly. "I have always been and still am stimulated by the vernacular, by the sound of spirituals, jazz and the like," he once said. "Although I might venture into more complicated abstractions, there is always present in one form or another at least the residue of those elements."

- Program Note from the University of Nebraska Wind Ensemble concert program, 28 February 2016

Dr. [Carolyn] Barber contacted me in August 2015 to ask if I'd compose something for the UN-L [University of Nebraska, Lincoln] Wind Ensemble's invited performance at the 2016 CBDNA North Central Convention in Ames, Iowa. I was flattered and eager to get started, of course. Still, it's amazing but true that nothing shuts off my creativity spigot faster than the word "commission." It can be so much pressure!

After many false starts, I found myself sitting at a piano, banging repeatedly on an F and growling to myself, "If I play this F long enough, something has to come out of it!" (Perhaps also, "This F-ing music!") What ultimately came out was a work that meanders through many keys, meters, and styles, but is unified by the common thread of a repeated pitch. Usually it's that F, finally making good on its potential.

As the larger form and character of this music began to take shape, I realized its goofy humor, carefree spirit, and unabashed joy exactly reflected what I have seen for myself and love so much about the UN-L Wind Ensemble and their conductor, both in rehearsal and performance. Indeed, I can't recall a premiere performance where the musicians and the audience shared such fun and energy!

- Program Note by composer

For Carolyn Barber and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Wind Ensemble.

- Program Note from score

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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