Desert Roads: Four Songs for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble

Desert Roads: Four Songs for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble2019-05-13T21:06:42+00:00

Project Description

Solo Clarinet in Bb and Wind Ensemble
27 min.

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Illinois State University Wind Ensemble, Stephen Steele, cond.
On the album Desert Roads

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Preview Score


Solo BbCl | Fl-2 Ob-2 BbCl-2 BCl CACl Bsn-2 SSx ASx TSx BSx | Hn-2 Tpt-2 Tbn-2 Euph Tuba DB | Hp Timp Perc-5

  • Solo Clarinet in B♭
  • Flute (2)
  • Oboe (2)
  • Clarinet in B♭ (2)
  • Bass Clarinet in B♭
  • Contra-alto Clarinet in E♭
  • Bassoon (2)
  • Soprano Saxophone
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Horn in F (2)
  • Trumpet in B♭ (2)
  • Trombone (2)
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Double Bass
  • Harp
  • Timpani
  • Required Percussion (5 players)
    • Wooden Wind Chimes
    • Metal Wind Chimes
    • Vibraphone
    • Xylophone
    • Marimba
    • Wood Blocks
    • Temple Blocks
    • Orchestra Bells
    • Cabasa
    • Egg Shaker (2)
    • Crotales
    • Suspended Cymbal (1 sm., 2 lg.)
    • Tam-tam
    • Sleigh Bells
    • Tom-toms (1 high, 1 med.)
    • Field Drum
    • Bass Drum
    • Tambourine
For wind ensembles and concertos, please use one player per part. For symphonies and concert pieces, more players may be used as desired. David’s full statement.


  1. Desert Roads
  2. Soliloquy – Not Knowing
  3. Coming Home
  4. Pray for Tender Voices in the Darkness

Program Note

The concerto has become a particularly intimate vehicle of expression for me. The title “Desert Roads” suggests an interior journey, a time of searching, of not knowing, of creative incubation.

I have chosen to call these four movements “songs” for clarinet and wind ensemble. This connects them directly to the Romantic idea of “songs without words.” They are intimate rather than symphonic expressions. Songs by Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms are some of my favorite music.

I. Desert Roads: Christ’s 40 days in the desert – Moses and Israel: 40 years in the desert – a time of inner searching
II. Soliloquy – Not Knowing: A brief movement, looking deeply and fervently for guidance

III. Coming Home: A “life journey” movement, both delicate and forceful, thoughtful and exuberant – a quiet coming home to rest – dedicated to the memory of Frederick Fennell, father of the modern wind ensemble movement, whose mentoring and friendship set me firmly on my path of writing for winds.

IV. Pray for Tender Voices in the Darkness: A sober contemplation of death – a benediction

Program note by David Maslanka

Further Reading