flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, F horn, bassoon
W H O A ! is a piece commissioned by the Woodwind Quintet Faculty of the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, MI.
It’s inspired by Two Roads, a simple poem my wife Maria wrote in 2015 about her late paint horse unexpectedly bolting during a ride in the wilderness. Over the hills and through the woods is an understatement regarding Forte’s sudden sprint. Starting off with a simple walk, the energetic creature sent Maria into a whirlwind of a short-but-rapid adventure, ultimately coming to a stop with a fired-up horse eager to return home. Twists and turns, unexpected meter changes, and melodic interruptions. Flute flourishes, horn rips, and clarinet glissandi. Dodging branches and fallen trees. A walk to a gallop and a gallop to a halt. These are but a few of the many ideas interspersed, creating a sonic scenario that will throw you onto the back of a charging horse.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.
Rapidly we approached, he was charging
as strong as a warrior into battle.
“Whoa!” I commanded, but the fire
I rode upon misunderstood.
Pulling back, pressuring his mouth,
I wasn’t trying to ruin his fun–
but the beast’s euphoria disagreed
on this spontaneous run.
Down and sideways, up and out, four hooves defied
gravity while two feet met with earth.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
and beside my horse I now stood.
– Maria Manfredonia, 2015
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