Gentle winds

chamber music of samuel a. livingston


The composer writes: Several years ago my wife and I joined an international folk dancing group. Many of the dance tunes were in meters not common in Western classical music, especially 5/4 and 7/8. I was intrigued by the way these uneven meters somehow felt completely natural, and I decided to use them in my compositions for small ensembles. They help me create melodies that are rhythmically interesting without sounding gimmicky or contrived. In these pieces, the first movement is in 7/8 (grouped 3, 2, 2), the second movement is in 5/4 (grouped 3, 2), and the third movement is in either 7/8 (grouped 3, 2, 2) or 10/8 (grouped 3, 3, 2, 2).


I would describe these pieces as folk-inspired classical chamber music (although in places you can hear the influence of Western movie scores). The music is always melodic and sometimes contrapuntal. The harmonies are simple, modal, and consonant. Typically, the first movement is in sonata form, the second movement is in ABA form, and the third movement is a theme and variations.


My goal in composing is to write music that is satisfying and enjoyable for the musicians and for the listeners. I want the listeners to feel like singing or dancing (but not actually do it during the performance).





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