Solar Visions (2004) for woodwind quintet was commissioned by and is dedicated to the
Arcadian Winds of Boston, Massachusetts, at the specific request of John Paul Aubrey,
hornist. Hearing the Arcadian Winds perform contemporary music on numerous occasions
was an inspiration to the writing of this piece.
The work is in three movements, each sharing the same basic musical material. The starting
point for the work's conception is a dissonant cadential figuration from early American music,
centered on Ab. Spinning out from this idea, the material extends to incorporate patterns of
perfect 5ths one semitone apart. This sense of "cadence" is extended in the work to make
The first movement, Recitatives and Chorales, consists of free, recitative-like material for the
instruments in solos. These recitatives often erupt into fast spirals. This texture is interrupted
periodically by chorale-like ideas presented by the full quintet.
The second movement, Serenata, is a song-like with each instrument taking the melody in
turn. Some of the recitative-ideas of the first movement re-emerge, as well as a rearticulation
of the cadential figuration.
The third movement, Dance, is energetic and driving. The dance is interrupted by a
recollection of the first movement's material. The final resolution of the extended cadential
figurations occurs at the end, and the work ends exuberantly with a flourish in Ab major.