*Three Contemporary Movements* for Recorder Quartet.
1. Wind across the Heath
2. Breeze in the Casuarina Grove
3. Wind over the Waterfall
_Score 9 pp. Parts 3 pp._
THE WIND. OMP253,2017.
SATB. Sc 9 pp, pts 3 pp ea.
This contemporary suite is more about harmonies than rhythms. It begins with "Wind Across the Heath."
The first movement's melodic shapes are similar to Antonio Vivaldi's depictions of wind, but Eccles's tonal language delivers less predictable harmonic progressions; also the meter varies, although not very noticeably. A few spots sound a little frightening, while others are beautiful.
The second movement, "Breeze in the Casuarina Grove"-the casuarina being a tree native to Australia-is slower. With a key signature of no sharps or flats, it meanders nicely through chords and keys by means of plentiful accidentals. "Wind over the Waterfall" is playful, first reminiscent of a calliope, then with the half-step "Jaws" interval in the bass. The harmonies are just slightly more predictable than in the first two movements, and this has little of the chaos I would associate with a waterfall. A fingering is thoughtfully provided for a tricky trill in the soprano.
The Wind is more serious than a novelty or encore; it might open the second half of a concert or recital.
The piece is graded as "Moderate" on the Orpheus site. Though it is not technically difficult, it does demand that the players be very comfortable with accidentals, even two or three in a measure. My ensemble played slowly the first time through, but quickly gained confidence-the music is more
straightforward than it first appears.
This suite is graded Difficult" on the Orpheus web site. Its good humour will be appreciated on a concert.
Kathleen Arends has enjoyed playing recorders for over 40 years and being an Orff music educator for some 35. She teaches and plays in the Seattle (WA) area.
American Recorder Summer 2018