(1995, revised 1996)
Duration: 10 minutes
Flute, Clarinet in B flat, Violin, Cello, Piano
First Performance: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/John Carewe, Warwick and Leamington Festival, 1997 (SPNM Event)
Winner of National Power Composers’ Competition, 1995
Selected for SPNM Shortlist 1996/7
Score available on request.
Listen to some extracts of the Quintetto by Alan Charlton performed by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group:
Originally conceived in 1994, ‘Quintetto’ was composed in July 1995 and revised in the summer of 1996. The work is based on the idea of splitting the ensemble of flute, clarinet in A, violin, cello and piano into three separate instrumental groupings, of wind, strings and piano, and playing on the interaction between these various groups. The wind, with their predominantly melodic role, form the continuous thread through the piece, while the strings and the piano take it in turns to accompany them. Initially dealing in entire passages of material, this alternation of strings and piano, regulated by a tight proportional scheme, becomes progressively more rapid until successive entries of the two groups are just a quaver apart. At this point, the distances between entries start expanding again and in the latter stages, the strings and piano are gradually drawn closer to each other, through their similarity of material, and are finally united, leaving the wind alienated at the end of the piece. The composition makes extensive use of a technique of generating harmonic material from vertically symmetrical chords, with all the pitches of the work being derived in this way.