The Sequoia Trio, by Jenni Brandon, was performed by The Sylvan Winds at their Women of Note concert, at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, 120 West 69th Street, New York City, NY on Sunday, March 13, 2022, at 4:00 PM. The members of the Sylvan Winds are Svjetlana Abalin, flute; Kathy Halvorson, oboe; Nuno Antunes, clarinet; Gina Cuffari, bassoon; and Zohar Schondorf, horn.
Hailed by The New York Times for “venturesome programming and stylishness of performance,” the Sylvan Winds has performed throughout the United States and abroad. The ensemble has established a reputation as one of the city’s most versatile chamber music ensembles and has received many honors, including an invitation to perform at the New York Governor’s Arts Awards. Dedicated to exploring the entire body of literature for wind instruments, the ensemble has consistently earned audience and critical acclaim.
The program for the concert is:
Cynthia folio (b. 1954) Seven Aphorisms (2001)
Jenni Brandon (b. 1977) The Sequoia Trio (2009) for oboe, clarinet & bassoon
Claude Arrieu (1900-1990) Quintet in C
Elizabeth Brown (b. 1953) Pentalogue (2021)
Grazyna Baczewicz (1909-1969) Quintet for Wind Instruments (1933)
This concert is made possible, in part, with support from the New York State Council on the Arts & the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Tickets: $25, $15 seniors/students, $10 children (6-17)
Tickets available at https://www.sylvanwinds.com or at the door
For reservations, please call 212 / 662-0433
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I returned from a trip to Sequoia National Park in July of 2008 and was inspired by the great trees. I knew that these would be the basis for the new work, and in searching for a voice of these great trees I turned to the words of John Muir for inspiration.
Each movement of The Sequoia Trio takes a quote about Sequoia trees from John Muir’s book The Yosemite and uses it to inspire the music. The opening waving pattern creates the gentle breeze as the growth of the tree starts in the bassoon, moving through the clarinet and is carried all the way to the top of the tree through the oboe. Movement two is sassy and jazzy, describing the kind of resilient attitude that young trees must maintain to survive. “The Three Graces” plays on the idea of the three instruments in the ensemble and Muir’s own reference to Greek mythology. Finally, in “The Noble Trees” the instruments play a hymn-like tribute to the largest living things on earth. The two “Tree Interludes” represent the individual voice of a tree and its story.
I. Sequoiadendron giganteum: The Big Tree
“Southward the giants become more and more irrepressibly jubilant, heaving their massive crowns into the sky from every ridge and slope, waving onward in graceful compliance with the complicated topography of the region.”
Tree Interlude One
Movement II. “A crowd of hopeful young trees and saplings…”
“But here for every old storm-beaten giant there are many in their prime and for each of these a crowd of hopeful young trees and saplings, growing vigorously on moraines, rocky ledges, along water courses and meadows.”
III. The Three Graces
“Groups of two or three (sequoias) are often found standing close together…They are called “loving couples,” “three graces,” etc… By the time they are full-grown their trunks will touch and crowd against each other…”
Tree Interlude Two
Movement IV. The Noble Trees
“…the Big Trees (sequoia gigantean), the king of all the conifers in the world, ‘the noblest of the noble race.’”
This piece was written during my composer residency with the Vientos Trio during 2008-2009.
This work appears on two CDs:
Songs Of California: Music For Winds And Piano, released by Jenni Brandon
From Earth & Sky: Music Of Jenni Brandon on the Blue Griffin Recording label
– Quotes taken from The Yosemite, 1912
by John Muir
Text is in the public domain.