Jenni’s “Five Frogs” Performed By The Ball State University Musical Arts Quintet

Jenni Brandon’s “Five Frogs for Woodwind Quintet performed by the Musical Arts QuintetBall State University College of Fine Arts, School of Music. This Faculty Artist Series recital, is Tuesday, October 2, 2018 Sursa Performance Hall, 5:30 p.m. Members of the quintet areMihoko Watanabe, flute; Elizabeth Crawford, clarinet; Lisa Kozenko, oboe; Keith Sweger, bassoon: Gene Berger, horn; James Helton, piano.

The Musical Arts Quintet (MAQ) is one of the country’s oldest and most distinguished chamber ensembles of its kind. Established in 1957 as faculty ensemble-in-residence at Ball State University, the quintet has gained national attention for its varied programming, including the traditional quintet repertoire with new works written by contemporary American composers.

Five Frogs” for woodwind quintet is inspired by One Hundred Frogs by Hiroaki Sato, a little book that takes a look at one hundred different haikus, sonnets, prose poems, and even limericks based on Bashô’s haiku, “Old Pond/Frog jumps in/The sound of water”. Each of the instruments in the ensemble is so different and so exceptional in their sound and abilities that I realized each one could be one of the frogs from the book. The clarinet is perfect for “Leaping” because of its agility and grace, the way a frog can be still one minute and gone the next. “Catching Bugs” gave me the opportunity to use the piccolo and allow the ensemble to run ‘amuck’ after their bug dinner. Finally, in “Epilogue” all the frogs sing together, each one bringing their own musical motive into this final movement.