From Wind Repertory Project
Adam Gorb

Adam Gorb

Subtitle: Suite for Percussion and Wind Ensemble

General Info

Year: 1998
Duration: c. 30:00
Difficulty: Solo V   |   Ensemble V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Maecenas Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $160.00


1. EARTH - Allegro Moderato
2. WATER - Andante
3. FIRE - Prestissimo
4. AIR - Largo - Presto


Full Score
Piccolo (doubling Alto Flute)
Flute I-II (doubling Piccolos)
Oboe I-II-III (III doubling English Horn)
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet (doubling B-flat)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Tenor Saxophone (doubling Soprano Sax)
Baritone Saxophone (doubling Alto Sax)
C Trumpet I-II
B-flat Trumpet III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Solo Percussion
Percussion, (minimum 3 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Glockenspiel
  • Maracas
  • Marimba
  • Mark Tree
  • Sandpaper Blocks (or Cabasa)
  • Side Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tom-Toms
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Vibra-slap
  • Whip
  • Wind Machine
  • Woodblock
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The origins of the four elements -- Earth, Water, Fire and Air -- date back to the Greek philosopher, physician, poet and high priest Empedocles (c. 490 - 430 BC) who allegedly committed suicide by throwing himself into the crater of Mount Etna . Empedocles analysed the universe into the four elements, fire being the essence of life, the other elements forming the basis of matter. His system is founded on the theory together with another, which supposes two opposing forces, Love and Strife. The world began when the elements, which had been torn asunder by the forces of Strife, tended to come together again under the influence of Love. The different species arose out of the different mingling of the elements.

In this work I have drawn upon motifs from that great elemental epic: Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen. While there is little direct quotation, I have been inspired by the extraordinarily forward-looking harmony and the magical sense of atmosphere found in Wagner's great masterpiece. The first movement, Earth, begins with ominous rumblings for the soloist, which soon erupt into a mood of intense fury. The harmonic language is harsh in the extreme, the rhythms are angular, and the texture is dominated by drums of various timbres, with an occasional grotesque interjection from the xylophone. At the climax of the movement any sense of order is lost and the players in the band play independently of the conductor, over whom the soloist improvises on octobans, (a particularly cruel and piercing-sounding set of drums.) Things eventually calm down, and the second movement, Water, begins with an extended saxophone duet over murky chromatic semi-quavers for wind and brass. Through this movement I have attempted to guide the emotional direction from Strife towards Love. The dominant instrument here is the marimba, which plays rhapsodically around fluid woodwind solos, like a deep-sea diver traveling amongst various strange tropical fish. Twice in the course of the movement a brass chorale (with melodic contours from Wagner's Rhine maidens) cuts through the texture, leading in its second appearance to the tonal centre of A major before the saxophones are heard once again.

With the sound of a match being struck, Fire steals in, at first with a flicker but soon gathering momentum and becoming wild and uncontrolled. The soloist switches from marimba to various metal percussion instruments, including thunder sheet and junk metal. At the climax of the movement a joyful bell-like theme is heard in the horns before the fire quickly burns itself out. The final movement, Air, expands this bell-like melody in music that is very slow, very quiet and very simple with silence an important factor. The dominant sound now is the cool, calm timbre of the vibraphone, and a great peace descends upon the scene. There is a final statement of the bell-like theme in the full band before the piece evaporates in a quicksilver A major codetta.

Commissioned by Timothy Reynish and the Royal Northern College of Music.

- Program Note by composer


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Firebaugh (Calif.) High School Symphonic Band (Jose Ledesma, conductor) - 26 March 2023 (2023 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • Royal Northern College of Music Wind Ensemble (Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussion | Clark Rundell, conductor) - 6 April 1998 WORLD PREMIERE
  • Guildhall Wind Ensemble (Richard Benjafield, percussion | Timothy Reynish, conductor) - 24 October 2005 LONDON PREMIERE

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Adam Gorb website
  • Gorb, A. (2005?). Elements (1998): Suite for Solo Percussion and Wind Ensemble [score]. Maecenas Music: Kenley, U.K.