Suite for Wind Quintet
Duration: c. 9:50
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown
1. Allegretto – 3:05
2. Lento Rubato – 2:20
3. Allegro possible – 4:20
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
Horn in F
None discovered thus far.
Suite for Wind Quintet was composed in 1952, a year before Crawford passed away. The National Association for American Composers and Conductors (NAACC) had announced a competition for a new chamber work to be commissioned in 1951. Crawford put aside much time,so that she could enter this prestigious composition. And from this, Suite for Wind Quintet was composed, and then subsequently won the NAACC competition. Ironically, after winning the competition, Crawford gained more confidence (as she was ill with cancer at this time), and said “I will work again – I will live to 99” – sadly this was not the case.
Movement I. Suite for Wind Quintet is a quintessential Crawford composition, with its lively nature, busy melodic lines and persistent ostinato bass lines. Scored for flute, clarinet, horn and bassoon, this suite is in three short movements, totaling about 10 minutes in length. The first movement begins with an ostinato rhythm played by the bassoon. Throughout, there is a sense of conversation between the different instruments, and this climaxes at points where the ensemble comes together to play lines in unison. You can hear Crawford’s application of the twelve-tone technique, which is resonant through the dissonant passages. The feel of the first movement is playful and rather pleasant.
Movement II. The second movement is slower and highlights all the instruments by passing around a main solo melodic line. It is also interesting to see Crawford’s layering of the accompaniment instrument, such as the bassoon and horn. This movement is slightly more mysterious and menacing in places, which shows a good contrast between the first and second movements.
Movement III. The final movement begins with a fast-paced unrelenting melodic line introduced by the bassoon and flute in unison. This kernel of music is then passed around the ensemble. I find this movement is the happy medium between the first and second movements, due to its playful, yet somewhat reserved feel to it. The conversational feel comes to an abrupt end.
Suite for Wind Quintet is a complex work, which was the penultimate composition Crawford offered before her death in 1953. Her return to music at this point can be translated into the programme for this work – like a person coming back to what they love after a brief time away.
- Program Note by Alex Burns
- Audio CD: Schönberg Ensemble
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Chamber Winds (Kevin Michael Holzman, conductor) – 1 March 2020
- Emblems Quintet – 2019
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Suite for Wind Quintet (1952)
- Burns, Alex. "Ruth Crawford Seeger 'Suite for Wind Quintet': A Playful Return to Music." Classicalexburns,, 2 June 2020. Web. Accessed 2 September 2020
- Crawford Seeger, R. (200-?). Suite for Wind Quintet [score]. Masters Music: Boca Raton, Fla.