Postcards from the Center (1992)

Instrumentation: woodwind quintet

Duration: 12:00

Commissioned by the Gordon W. Evans Charitable Trust for the Lieurance Woodwind Quintet of Wichita State University.

Premiered at the Kansas Arts Festival, November 3, 1992

Recording: Postcards from the Center – The Moran Woodwind Quintet. Crystal Records CD754.

Movements:
I. Prairie Sentinel
II. Traveling on Beautiful Interstate 70
III. Kansas Winter
IV. Nighttime in Kansas: In Memoriam John Cage (optional)
V. Punching Cattle on a Jackrabbit
VI. Fireworks Over Kansas/Kansas Tornado

Notes: Each movement takes its title and inspiration from a current Kansas postcard. The style of the piece is eclectic in the depiction of each scene, from the Coplandesque first movement, the “impatient minimalism” of the second, whole-tone constructions of the third,  polytonality of the fourth, and atonality of the fifth.

Interview: “Jim Jones decided to hold a Kansas Arts Festival during American music week. The works had to be multimedia and appeal to kids. I considered doing something about pioneer women, but that sounded too serious. I had a collection of Kansas postcards, and many of the postcards have titles. I selected some with titles I could work with and arranged them in order. Traveling on Beautiful Interstate 70 – a wide-open nothing with some overpasses and trucks going down a straight highway. Kansas at Night – a black picture of the state: I was going to have the quintet sit in the dark while  a recording of crickets played. I withdrew the movement because it killed the momentum of the piece – it didn’t work.”

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