Desert Wind

Composed in:
2007
Description:
for 2 fl (2nd doubles on picc), ob, engl.hn, 2 cl (2nd doubles on bcl), bsn, contra-bsn, 2 fhn, 2 tpt, 2 perc, strings (8-7-4-4-2); in one movement
Duration:
14 minutes
Publisher:
Doblinger Music Publishers, Vienna (rental score and parts available through rent@doblinger.at)
Commissioned by:
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Premiere performance:
05/19/2006 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jeffrey Kahane
CD recording:

Reviews:

“Kahane was back just in time to unveil the latest LACO Sound Investment commission, a 14-minute tone poem by Austrian-born, Los Angeles-based composer Gernot Wolfgang called “Desert Wind.” Talk about a fortuitous title. Desert winds have been very much on our minds lately, what with the ominously early arrival of the Santa Anas accompanied by wildfires in Griffith Park and Gorman.

Wolfgang’s arresting, jazz-drenched new score seemed to capture at once the realities and myths of Los Angeles during fire season.

The winds themselves were exactingly summoned up by the swirling strings and horns, with a snare drum rat-a-tat-tatting away. At other times, the strings were caught in a state of sustained unresolved tension, animated by chugging grooves in the percussion. There was a jazzy French horn solo for Richard Todd and a tricky oboe solo for Allan Vogel, who stood when they played as if in a big band.

The sustained string tension and percussion punctuations reminded one of the music of another transplanted local notable, William Kraft. This piece could also serve as the score for an archetypical 1950s L.A. detective thriller — music that’s somehow cool and sultry at the same time, suggesting danger in the palm tree paradise. Wherever your imagination takes you, Wolfgang supplies the fuel — “Desert Wind” ought to have legs beyond its premiere.”

Richard S. Ginell, The Los Angeles Times