Passages, Opus 53 by Neal Corwell

Instrumentation: woodwind quintet
Copyright: 2009
Duration: ca. 10:00
Difficulty: IV
Publisher: Nicolai Music
Price: $20
Other Info: The work was commissioned by the Appalachian Wind Quintet, and premiered by them at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland on Oct. 10, 2009.


Passages is a single-movement work based entirely upon two simple thematic motives: one presented by the clarinet in the first bar, and the other stated by the horn in bars two and three. As the music unfolds, the two themes interact with one another in various ways and also go through their own individual musical metamorphosis. As the two themes are restated during the dramatic and exciting conclusion, it is clear that they both have been altered and effected by their various transformations, but nevertheless retain their original identity. The musical process the themes go through is analogous to the various stages, or “passages”, that each of us passes through during the course of our lives, hence the title of this work.