To the Dark Wood
Composed by George Rochberg (1985)
For Woodwind Quintet
Published by Theodore Presser Company
Includes score and parts
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet in Bb, Horn in F, and Bassoon
The title of this work is metaphoric and is intended to indicate the nature of the music in the most general sense. There is no “program” as such; but there is an expressive tone which pervades and characterizes the atmosphere, the world within which the music takes place: the world of nature and the old mythology which still haunts the mind of man. Even though the great religious orthodoxies have tried to separate man from nature and nature from man, the Great God Pan still roams the woods with his entourage of satyrs and nymphs and occasionally, in those states of awareness increasingly open to human beings, reveals himself – but never completely. The “calling” which is characteristic of this music is warrant of man's longing for a life which transcends rationalism with its arid, barren effects as well as of nature's longing for a man's poetic healing sympathies. Both need each other to reach fulfillment; but in the frustration of that fulfillment there is a quality of sadness and darkness which is more than and different from the sadness we associate with the unfulfilled desires of an individual human ego in a purely human world. All these were the feelings and thoughts which went through me as I wrote the music; and, in assigning a central role to the Horn, I did so because it seems to me that it is the Horn which is the wind instrument which best conveys not only the longing, sadness, and darkness I wanted to express, but also the nobility possible to these qualities. If the other instruments in the wind quintet sometimes suggest and echo the vocabulary of bird calls, that is by conscious design; and, if they sometimes utter phrases which suggest purely human feelings, that too is by conscious design.
– George Rochberg