Woodwind Quintet, O llama de amor viva [7']

a quintet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn

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The subtitle of Joelle Wallach’s Woodwind Quintet, “O llama de amor viva” (Oh, living flame of love), is the first line of a poem by the Spanish mystic, Saint John of the Cross.  The music depicts fire’s gentle flicker and sudden conflagration as metaphor for the varying intensity of consuming spiritual love.  The brief rising phrase each instrument breathes in the short slow introduction is a single, graceful lick of flame.  As the piece progresses through rapid changes of tempo, texture and mood, the phrases ignite, flaring together or blazing separately, creating climaxes, flashing toward a final flushed moment of glowing repose.    Like Wallach’s Of Honey and Of Vinegar, Wallach’s Woodwind Quintet, “O llama de amor viva” won first prize in the historic New Music for Young Ensembles Composition Competition.