Wild Landscape and Underbrush - Program Notes

Sometimes I like to start composing a piece with no particular goal in mind other than to satisfy my curiosity about where I can go with a seemingly random musical idea. In the beginning I imagine the musicians who will perform the piece and I jot down a sound that this image evokes. Then I let this initial idea grow in communication with the musical developments it may suggest to me. I vary the degree to which what I write agrees with or counters the suggested developments, just like a pilot of a glider plane chooses either to use or to steer against the natural wind currents to make his ride enjoyable.

Wild Landscape and Underbrush was written for Arcadian Winds. I had an opportunity to hear the ensemble a while ago in a wonderful concert at Harvard University. More recently, however, I was lucky enough to win Arcadian bassoonist Janet Underhill for the premiere of my duo for bass clarinet and bassoon, Days. Looking at Arcadian Winds with the bassonists sound fresh in my memory has left its mark on the beginning of the piece and softly echoes in the title.

(Stefan Hakenberg, 2000)