The Use of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chorales in David Maslanka’s Quintet for Winds No. 3 for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, and Bassoon
Elisa Moles’ thesis on David’s third Quintet for Winds focuses specifically on his use of Bach chorales. Her thorough analysis of the quintet displays David’s use of chorales as an integral part of the composition. Through her research, she explains David’s incorporation of thematic, harmonic, and formal chorale elements as a catalyst for his original composition, using the old form to create something entirely new.
Numbering over eighty works, the wind music of American composer David Maslanka has become increasingly popular over the last thirty years. His Quintet for Winds No. 3 for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, and Bassoon (1999) is a remarkable piece that has not been previously researched in depth. What drew me to investigate this piece was Maslanka’s interesting referencing of the melody and text of Johann Sebastian Bach’s chorales. A defining feature of this woodwind quintet, Maslanka incorporates Bach chorales as major melodic, harmonic, and structural aspects of the work. The reference to the original text of each chorale also provides extra-musical meaning to the piece. In addition to analyzing the use of the Bach chorales in this quintet, I intend to offer some suggestions for performing. Before discussing these matters, however, it will be necessary to provide some historical background. The compositional technique of borrowing raises several issues that, upon further investigation, will yield a clearer understanding of the piece to the performers. The three main issues […]