I have admired Michael Colgrass’s music since I was a junior in high school in 1976. I had discovered a recording in the local library of his orchestra work as quiet as and also heard it on the radio not long after. I also xeroxed the score to his woodwind quintet while at summer music camp at University of Illinois. Coincidently, when I performed Westside Story in high school I discovered Colgrass’s signature in the percussion book while nosing around.
I was involved in wind ensembles as early as 15 as a clarinetist. The last time I performed in a wind ensemble was about ten years ago performing Stravinsky’s Symphony for Winds. When I was a young composer of 18 in 1978 I composed a 12 minute piece titled Rainbow for a wind ensemble with a large percussion section at Northern Illinois University. It was a challenging piece but the performer’s hard work brought about a good performance and an even better recording that opened many doors for me. However, I didn’t find an interest by other wind ensembles back then. Perhaps the situation has changed. I’ll explore.
Here’s a brief clip of a more transparent section of Rainbow from 1978 when I was 18: