One aspect of my Air Force job that I really enjoy is performing in a woodwind quintet. A traditional woodwind quintet includes Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Horn (aka French Horn). Of course a lot of people ask why a horn, which is a BRASS instrument, is in a WOODWIND quintet. I usually reply that is none of their business. But in all seriousness, small ensembles became standard largely in relation to the evolution of the orchestra. Without getting into too much detailed history, there was a time when orchestras were much smaller and consisted of a string section, woodwinds, and the only brass were horns. Naturally, composers also wrote music for these sections and the horn plus woodwinds was the WIND section. This is when we began to see the standardization of the string quartet and the woodwind quintet.
My quintet at work is called “Heritage Winds”. We are going on tour next week to Maine. Normally it takes us a few weeks to prepare for a tour. This involves picking out our music and then rehearsing it. We typically rehearse a few days a week, and each rehearsal is two hours long. One of the pieces we are working on is called “Quintet No. 2” by Alec Wilder. There is a really good recording on YouTube of this work performed by the Lieurance Woodwind Quintet.
Thanks for reading everyone, if we get some decent recordings on our tour, I’ll be sure to post them. ...Jesse