Fantasy Quintet by Ernest Tomlinson
Arranged for woodwind quintet by Robert Rainford
Duration: circa 20 min.
Score and parts
Originally composed by Tomlinson for string quartet in 1947, during his final year at the Royal Manchester College of Music and Manchester University after his war service in the RAF. This is a much more mature composition than one would expect, given it was a student composition. The harmonies are rich and deeply chromatic, but with a sense of energy and drive even through the slower sections of the piece. The opening section is slow and reflective, alternating passage in rhythmic unison with overlapping entries that build up the texture gradually. This leads in to the main body of the piece, which is lively and exciting with many triplet rhythms. The first section is highly contrapuntal with all instruments contributing equally to the texture. The second subject is much broader in feel, with more of a two in a bar feel. Elements of the slow introduction are woven in to the texture until a climax is reached. This is interrupted by a much freer section, with recit-like passages for all instruments. After a brief recap of the introduction the material from the fast section appears again. This becomes faster and faster until the final triumphant, major section.
This is a full arrangement of this piece, and as such requires confident players with very strong technique. Full ranges of the instruments are used, and at nearly 20 minutes long the reed and horn players will need plenty of stamina to get through. However it is well worth the work to become familiar with this unknown gem.