Circus Etudes. - WW5
Composer: Agrell, Jeffrey
for woodwind quintet: flute (piccolo), oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon
by Jeffrey Agrell - American composer and hornist
About the Music
Come one, come all, under the musical big top to experience the exciting extravaganza of extraordinary death-defying acts gathered from the four corners of the globe, no expense spared to bring you the greatest circus spectacle in the history of the world!
In movement 1, "Dancing Elephants," a plethora of agile pachyderms do their best to produce pirouettes, jetés, and arabesques for a perhaps overly-idealistic trainer. At one point, the demands of the latter become overwhelming and chaos ensues. But order is finally restored, and the dancing elephants take one more nearly graceful turn around the ring before departing to thunderous applause.
After that exceedingly serious act it is time for some comic relief, provided by movement 2, "Clowns". These masters of slapstick and pratfall use every zany antic in their repertoire to elicit grins and guffaws from the audience.
"Trapeze Artists", movement 3, begins simply with the theme in the horn. As the high-flying artists add successively more difficult routines, the theme moves from instrument to instrument with ever-more astonishing feats of high-flying fantastic fearlessness.
To conclude the show in grand style we have the "Acrobats". These gyrating gymnasts astound with the precision, perfection, and pizzazz of their brilliant and bold movements and maneuvers, a fine finish to a thrilling, chilling, spine-tingling circus show.
About the Composer
Jeffrey Agrell (now retired) was horn professor at The University of Iowa School of Music 2000-2021 after a first career as professional symphony musician. He has won awards as both a writer and composer, with dozens of compositions published, recorded, and performed worldwide, plus over one hundred published articles and nine books, including Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians (2008) & Vol. II (2016). Besides standard horn repertoire and technique, he has also taught classical improvisation and has given lectures, concerts, and workshops in this type of improvisation nationally and internationally. In retirement, he is spending more time working on jazz guitar, golf, fishing, biking, and card tricks.