Gale Force



The Prairie Winds




Wind quintets by Harbison, Barber, Hétu, Persichetti, and Copland






THEPrairie Winds


North America's foremost wind quintet, the Prairie Winds, combines the artistry of five virtuoso musicians from the Chicago Symphony and the faculties of the University of Illinois, Oklahoma State University, and Wheaton Conservatory. Renowned for their entertaining concerts, the Prairie Winds' programs include classic quintet repertoire, exciting explorations into the world of new music, and spotlight features of individual members of the group. Since their debut in 1996 at Oak Park's historic Unity Temple, the Prairie Winds have performed throughout the United States. During the summers the Prairie Winds are the quintet-in-residence at the Britt Music Festival in Medford, Oregon where they perform and teach.


JONATHAN KEEBLE is the professor of flute at Oklahoma State University and has soloed with the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Ecuadorian National Symphony, and the Columbus State Wind Symphony, among others. In high demand as a performer and clinician throughout the Midwest, Jonathan has given chamber and solo recitals in North America, South America, and Asia. Jonathan received his bachelor's degree at Northwestern University and completed his masters and doctorate at the Eastman School of Music. He is also a past winner of the Coleman Chamber Music Competition.


JOHANNA COX has served as principal oboist for the Chicago Civic Orchestra and has played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As the Freiburg Exchange program recipient for 1995-96, she traveled to Germany and studied with soloist Heinz Holliger. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Northwestern University, Johanna's solo appearances include the concertos of Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Goossens, and Mozart. In 1997, Johanna and twin sister Lenora performed the Bach Double Concerto with the National Repertory Orchestra.


SUSAN WARNER is the principal clarinetist of Concertante di Chicago and appears frequently as an extra musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. In the past, Susan has been a member of the Rochester and Fort Wayne Philharmonics and has performed with the Montreal Symphony. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Iowa, Susan is on the faculty of Wheaton Conservatory.


DAVID GRIFFIN is a member of the Chicago Symphony's renowned horn section. He graduated from Northwestern University and has held positions with the Montreal Symphony, Houston Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic. While in Montreal, David appeared frequently with the Allegra Chamber Players and Les Chambristes de Montreal.


TIMOTHY MCGOVERN is the professor of bassoon at the University of Illinois. Formerly the associate principal bassoonist of the Montreal Symphony, he also served as principal of the Montreal Symphonette and the McGill Chamber Orchestra. He is currently principal bassoon of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia da Camera. Timothy is a past winner of the East/West Concert Artist Competition, which included a Carnegie Recital Hall debut. He attended Northwestern University and the University of Michigan.


About Gale Force


Gale Force represents a collection of the finest wind quintet music written by North American composers. The richness and diversity of the past century's music is evident through the warmth and lyricism of the quintets of Samuel Barber, Vincent Persichetti and Aaron Copland, the mischievous tongue waggling and technical challenge of John Harbison's writing, and the pathos of Jacques Hétu's Quintette. Gale Force's music is powerful, comical, and pastoral, but most of all, it is the sounds of 20th century North American life.




Quintet for Winds by John Harbison


John Harbison's Quintet for Winds (1979) has become the new standard by which quintets test their mettle. Each of the five movements is highly individual in character, with the opening Intrada's arresting horn and bassoon unison soaring through the stratosphere of each instrument's range. The Romanza has moments of sensuality set against moments of comedy, and the Scherzo's breathless moto perpetuo features what can best be described as a musical relay-race between the clarinet, flute, and bassoon. The Finale's parody is highlighted by a drunken middle section that juxtaposes march-like figures in the oboe and horn, against a jesting clarinet line. In a stroke of brilliance, Harbison turns the voices of the group upside down throughout much of the quintet. The horn and bassoon traverse the peaks of their ranges, and the flute and oboe trace melodic lines through their lowest registers. What results is an extremely “crunched” sound, with all members of the ensemble weaving their voices inside a similar register. Through this technique, Harbison takes a centuries old ensemble and creates an entirely new sound.




Pastoral by Vincent Persichetti


Vincent Persichetti wrote in virtually every 20th century musical style, and for numerous solo and ensemble combinations. Few composers demonstrate the affinity and affection for wind ensemble writing that hallmark Persichetti's writing. Nowhere is this more evident than in his disarmingly simple and charming Pastoral for wind quintet. Written in 1943, the opus 21 Pastoral was composed when Persichetti was 28 years old, and received its premiere by Philadelphia's Curtis Quintet. Its writing is tonal, and the folk songs and dances within it betray Aaron Copland's influence on Persichetti's early writing. The opening of the Pastoral features a warm and lilting flute and clarinet duet that gives way to a series of placid country scenes. Near the piece's end, all the winds thread their way into the musical tapestry, with a country dance that surrenders to a warm expression of adoration by the flute. The piece closes as it begins, with a duet in the flute and clarinet.




Quintette by Jacques Hétu


Written in 1967, Jacques Hétu's opus 13 Quintette, is a lyrical, dark, and at times mischievous exploration of late 20th century quintet sounds. As with much of Hétu's writing, the Quintette uses modal serialism for its harmonic organization, but its intent is never to alienate audiences. The piece is a heartfelt neo-romantic work, written in the 19th century four-movement sonata style. This combination of old and new is the cornerstone of Hétu's music, as he observed in an interview shortly after the Quintette's composition in 1969, stating “…as far as my writing technique is concerned, I see no value in completely forsaking the old method of writing; I am trying to combine elements from the past and present…” Within that statement lies the kernel to the Quintette's genius . . . with the 1960's social protest and conflict serving as a backdrop for the piece's composition, its desperation and darkness reflect the times in which it was composed. Through this emerges a rhythmically vital piece with a sense of lyricism that makes it a highly moving listening experience.




Summer Music by Samuel Barber


Written in 1956, for the Detroit Chamber Music Society, Summer Music is emblematic of Samuel Barber's writing, with long melodic lines winding over the ground of 19th century romantic harmony and expressiveness. Summer Music is a staple of the wind quintet repertoire, and its genius lies in its transparency of line and texture. Not unlike a Mozart symphony, where the listening experience of an exquisite performance results in a satisfied collective sigh in the audience and whispers of “that was nice,” a great performance of Summer Music yields much the same from its listeners. However, lurking below this placid musical surface lies a series of pitfalls that are remarkable in their challenge. When Summer Music is performed beautifully, it sounds easy, but when it is not, these pitfalls become quite apparent to audiences, and the difficulty of the piece comes to the fore. Summer Music is a vividly pictorial composition, with the opening sounds of the horn and bassoon evoking the torpor of summertime. This is followed by a pair of wind blasts from the flute and clarinet that decay, as a languid lament rises in the oboe. From here, we are treated to a series of summertime episodes that are as provocative as they are beautiful.




“Simple Gifts” by Aaron Copland


Transcribed from Aaron Copland's famous ballet Appalachian Spring (1943-44) by Prairie Winds' clarinetist Susan Warner, Simple Gifts is a traditional Shaker melody set as a series of variations. The shaker tune appears in the ballet as a newly wed bride and groom dance in celebration of their marriage. Powerful through its simplicity and warmth, Simple Gifts evokes images of the timeworn American pioneer experience. As with much of Copland's music, Simple Gifts is remarkable for its lyric expressiveness, and rooting in American folk melody. Aaron Copland stands with Charles Ives and Leonard Bernstein as the chief 20th century figureheads of American music, and though each has their own unique musical voice, their writing is distinctively homegrown.


Produced by John Hagstrom • Recorded by Steven Lewis • Edited by Konrad Strauss


Photo by Bill Burlingham • Cover Art by John Griffin • Program Notes by Jonathan Keeble


Recorded June 17-18 and October 23-24, 1999, Duesenberg Recital Hall, Valparaiso University










THE Prairie Winds


John Harbison


Quintet for Winds [21:12]


1 Intrada [2:59]


2 Intermezzo [2:36]


3 Romanza [5:41]


4 Scherzo [2:26]


5 Finale [7:09]


Vincent Persichetti


6 Pastoral [5:57]


Jacques Hétu


Quintette [11:42]


7 Adagio, Allegro molto [3:43]


8 Vivace [1:27]


9 Adagio [2:41]


10 Lento, Allegro con brio [3:33]


Samuel Barber


11 Summer Music [11:38]


Aaron Copland, trans. by Susan Warner


12 Simple Gifts from Appalachian Spring [3:18]


Total Time = 54:30




Jonathan keeble




johanna cox




susan warner




david griffin




timothy mcgovern






John Harbison's Quintet for Winds is published by AssociatedMusic Publishers; Vincent Persichetti's Pastorale and Samuel Barber's Summer Music are published by G. Schirmer, Inc.; Jacques Hétu's Quintette is published by Les Editions YPPAN; Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring is published by Boosey &Hawkes.