Desire Paths: Chamber Symphony for Double Wind Quintet and Piano
Kenlon, Jared William
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Taking its title from a term in urban planning and landscape architecture, Desire Paths: Chamber Symphony for Double Wind Quintet and Piano is an original musical work that explores the ideas of resistance, resilience, and adaptation, primarily through the recurrence of a central theme in each of its five movements. It spans approximately 27 minutes in performance. The first movement may be considered a "title track" of sorts, as it is also called "Desire Paths." Beginning with a twelve-tone row that is gradually deconstructed, the main melody of the work first arises about halfway through this first movement. The second movement, "Sirens On the Stern," takes inspiration from Greek mythology in its title and in its formal concerns. The English horn and bass clarinet are cast as the titular sirens, intoning delicate lines decorated with beguiling arabesques. The third movement introduces a discreet textual source. "The Dream with the Magnolia Tree" is in sound and expressive intent a response to Pablo Neruda's forty-sixth love sonnet, "De las estrellas que admiré..." ("Of all the stars I have admired..."). The rhythm and lilt of that Spanish text informs the melodic material unique to this movement, while the main theme is presented in an abridged form. More insistent and aggressive in character than the preceding three movements, "Wem das Schicksal schlägt" ("When fate strikes") pits original melodic material against fragments taken from Leoš Janáček's 1919 song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared. The fifth and final movement, like the third, is in large part an instrumental setting of a textual source. A passage from Jeannette Winterson's 1993 novel Written on the Body provides both the melodic material and the quiet ecstasy of the fifth movement, entitled "Let Loose in Open Fields." Accompanying the score of Desire Paths, a prose document details the origins of the work, the extramusical factors that served as catalysts for its composition, and the role each movement plays in an ongoing mediation between melodic flexibility and persistence.