Rubber Angels

Complete Work Title: 

Rubber Angels

Performance Medium: 

woodwind quintet (flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, horn, bassoon)


in three movements



Date Composed: 

July - December 1987

Additional Information: 

Finalist, 1988 ASCAP Grants to Young Composers Award competition.

Performance/Broadcast History: 
  • 26 October 1989; Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)
  • 28 February 1989; Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) [premiere]

    Indiana University Student Wind Quintet

Program Notes: 

Rubber Angels was composed between July and December of 1987 at the request of Cindy Earnest and the La Jolla Woodwind Quintet.

The work is in three interrelated movements, the first of which is a somewhat static isorhythmic unfolding of a single pitch/rhythmic ordering, presented at different transpositional/temporal levels. As each instrument follows its own trajectory, the composite density increases until the texture is completely saturated. Just prior to this point, however, a series of interruptive outbursts is introduced into the system, increasing in frequency until eventually overtaking the established texture.

The second movement begins with the interruptive material from the previous movement, now condensed in register and more urgently iterated. The basis of this movement is a gradually ascending microtonal cluster that spans nearly the entire range of the ensemble. Between the aforementioned interruptions (which decrease in duration and frequency as the movement progresses) are several brief interpolations of material extracted from the other movements, which is presented by various instrumental pairs.

The third movement opens with an introductory flurry (consisting of the original pitch ordering from the first movement) that moves rapidly through the ensemble. The primary focus of this movement is a single melodic line that is continuously embellished and passed throughout the ensemble. This "melody" is strictly based upon the composite pitch ordering (i.e., resulting from the superimposition of all individual orderings) of the entire first movement. Beneath this line murmurs a rhythmically active though harmonically static accompanimental fabric, which itself had been previously foreshadowed. The movement proceeds in a somewhat aimless manner until, as in the previous movements, there is a disruption in the system: in this instance, the interruptive material is silence, a structurally significant element in the opening of the first movement; here, however, it acts as a deteriorative factor, to the eventual elimination of musical material and, thus, the conclusion of the work.