January (2023)

fl, ob, cl, hn, bsn
7 min.

As a young horn student I played in a wind quintet, thoroughly enjoyed its repertoire, then pointedly avoided it as a composer. It’s an ensemble rife with pitfalls, balance and intonation problems, voicing difficulties, and on and on. When I finally came to write for it, these challenges seemed to demand a lightness of touch, so I went in determined to have as much fun as possible.

The opening of January introduces a simple motif on DGAF, which functions as a motto both musically and attitudinally. The title holds a number of associations: January is a month of fresh starts, of pledges made and abandoned just as quickly; it’s the month of my birth, and in which I wrote this piece during a residency on the Gulf of Mexico, which lent it a sunny, upbeat tone. The music winds its way in a carefree manner through a series of repetitive grooves before opening outward with a question mark, to be continued someday in February.

January was commissioned by Arktinen Hysteria with the assistance of the Teosto commissioning fund and the Oulu Music Festival.