Shankin' on a Rutabaga
Composed by Mark Adam Watkins
For Woodwind Quintet
Published by Alry Publications
Duration: 3 minutes
Includes score and parts
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, and Bassoon
Well, the title about says it all. This piece is quirky, jazzy, a lot of fun to play, and makes a great addition to the standard quintet repertoire.
This quirky composition was originally sketched in the halls of the Henry Mancini Institute in a race to get a new work on the bill of a concert. Uniquely, this piece always makes me think I'm some British composier who was writing about rabbits vying for vegetables, frolicking in a forbidden garden… maybe I was channeling 'The Tortoise and the Hare' and the turtle finally gets a voice at 'E'. The rabbit gets a tummy ache mistaking a rutabaga for a carrot, and has to play catch up…? Sky is the limit…
The first draft spun itself out on a Wednesday night, as a playful romp for my new friends at the conservatory. After my hands fell off finishing the copywork, the work was played a few days later at the Karen Carpenter Center. Over time, I tinkered with the draft and finally chiseled it into its current fun, angular but comforable state.
Forward motion is key here. The suggested tempo marking clips along, but because of its rhythmic energy it will feel better up-tempo and only drag mopingly should you lag.
While well-marked, there are some places that the articulations differ from each part for effect (i.e. a new melody starts a phrase-forward, some have hard accents, other long on the same beat)… you can experiment with a balance should the discrepancy seem more disjunct than musical, but the sentiment was about where a line comes from or is going.
The 'scoops' aren't long, glissandi, but shorter, simple slides into the note. Enjoy the race!
–Mark Adam Watkins