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Diablerie for Wind Ensemble

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Zachary Cairns

Zachary Cairns

General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 7:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Unpublished
Cost: contact the composer for pricing


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II (both div. a2)
Trombone I-II-III
Timpani (5 drums)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos (2)
  • Concert Toms (4)
  • Congas (2)
  • Hi-Hat
  • Marimba (5.0 octave, if possible)
  • Mark Tree
  • Opera Gongs (2) (can substitute 2 metal plates or brake drums)
  • Ride Cymbal
  • Slapstick
  • Snare Drum
  • Splash Cymbal
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Woodblocks (3)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Diablerie was commissioned by, and is dedicated to, Mr. Aaron Datsko and the Lower Merion High School Wind Ensemble. Aaron and I have been good friends since we met at Penn State University in 1996, so it was a real privilege to have the opportunity to write a piece for his students to premiere. Given our long friendship, it might perhaps seem appropriate for me to have written a deeply reflective, sentimental, and even poignant composition ... but this is not that piece.

The bulk of the piece was actually inspired by the word which ultimately became the piece’s title. The word “diablerie” means “mischievous conduct” or “charismatic wildness,” and it is a general sense of controlled chaos that the first two-thirds of the piece are supposed to depict. The final section of the piece, on the other hand, is a calm, serene episode where all the chaos of the beginning immediately dissolves and is recast in a new context. It is very common in much concert music to have a slow introduction, followed by a faster section that makes up the bulk of the piece. Or, equally common, is to have a slow middle section, flanked by more energetic music on each side. But for Diablerie, I wanted to turn those models around and create a composition that is essentially a fast, aggressive, rhythmically challenging piece that concludes with a slow ending. I composed this piece, in some sense, like a sort of theme and variations in reverse -- I wrote the slow ending first, and then found ways to fragment, develop, and transform the lyrical melodies and harmonies into a faster, more active context. Making musical sense of the fragmented material at the beginning, and connecting it to the ending, creates interesting challenges for the performers and for the listener, too.

- Program Note by composer


Video Lower Merion High School (Aaron Datsko, conductor) - Premiere Performance


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Lower Merion High School (Pa.) (Aaron Datsko, conductor) - 7 May 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer


None discovered thus far.