Playground Piece (2011) for Woodwind Quintet and Mallet Percussion [2:00]
~ Piccolo, E-flat Clarinet (optional B-flat), Oboe, Horn, Bassoon, Xylophone, and Marimba
Program Notes: My front door opens on a small playground where I often hear children from my apartment complex playing as I work at my desk; Playground Piece was inspired by the sounds of these children. The motive that begins the composition imitates one child’s repeated singsong exclamation of “I am the President!” which quite entertained me one April afternoon. This is followed by a staccato sixteenth-note motive, which imitates laughter. Chromatic grace notes, hemiolas, and a clapping-game rhythm give the impression of childish mischeivousness. The theme of the middle section of the piece is a throwback to my early childhood, when my brother and I would stand atop our slide and exclaim “One for Bippy-Bye!” (To this day, no one in my family knows what it means.) Xylophone glissandos underscore this theme, depicting the slide. The interval of a minor third, which forms the basis for all of the main motives in the piece, also plays a role in key relationships, and the minor thirds toward the end first depict the children’s reluctance to come inside and then evoke the opening of Brahms’ Lullaby.