Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 43, Lesser-Known Chamber Works

Maslanka Weekly highlights excellent performances of David Maslanka’s music from around the web.

Most people are unaware that David Maslanka wrote over sixty pieces of chamber music. Much of this music is well-known and played throughout the world. Sadly, a lot of David’s chamber music remains relatively obscure and is only played on rare occasion. This week, we feature three of David’s “lesser-known” chamber works: Quintet for Winds No. 4, Heaven to Clear When Day Did Close: Fantasy on a Theme of Barney Childs, and Arise! We hope you will want to play them!

Quintet for Winds No. 4

The last of David’s four works for wind quintet, this quintet is in three movements: I. “Slow,” II. “A Lullaby, Inward and Hesitant,” and III. “Very Fast.” Premiered in 2008 by the Florida Wind Quintet, this relatively unknown work is a jewel in the wind quintet repertoire featuring David at the height of his compositional mastery. Watch below as Catharsis Winds gives a stunning performance of this music.

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Heaven to Clear When Day Did Close: Fantasy on a Theme of Barney Childs

According to David, “Barney Childs was my mentor and then friend from the early 1970’s until his death in the late 1990’s. His music is fragmentary, elliptical, enigmatic. I always found something to like in his work – ideas that had a quality of compression and real potential. Such is the case with the ‘thematic’ fragment that I borrowed from his solo piano piece Heaven to Clear When Day Did Close. In my fantasy the theme explodes into a virtuoso tenor sax extravaganza. This is ‘Classical’ music but with strong reference to bebop. The string quartet parts are demanding and require a seasoned and committed ensemble.” Watch below as Garrett Evans (Tenor Saxophone), Wendell Leafstedt (Violin), Alex Quinn (Violin), Gawain Usher (Viola), and Natalie Glaster (Cello) give a recent performance of this work.

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Did you know that David Maslanka wrote a fantastic piece for brass quintet? You should!

According to David, “Arise! was written for the Aries Brass Quintet of Denver, Colorado. They had asked for a brief, energetic concert opener, and so the feel of the piece and its title (“Arise” from “Aries”) popped into mind at the same instant. Arise! mixes old and new. Its harmonies and rhythms are more nearly modern, yet its propulsive nature, and its continuous working out of a small number of motives and thematic fragments is very Baroque.” Watch below as the Menagerie Brass Quintet gives a live performance of this work from the Jeju international competition in 2015.

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We would love to hear from you! If you know of any outstanding performances of David Maslanka’s music on the web, please email us at