Windsor Jambs

Year 1980
Publisher Edition Peters
Program Notes

[This score was previously self-published by Earle Brown. It is available as facsimile print from Edition Peters as of 2007.]

Windsor Jambs (1980) was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard and first performed by Speculum Musicae on a Composers Showcase concert at the Whitney Museum in January 1981. The work is dedicated to Paul Fromm.

The title, Windsor Jambs comes from a road sign I saw somewhere in Connecticut or Western Massachusetts a few years ago. I liked the sound of it as a title and it has come to express somewhat the polyphonic juxtapositions and interweaving of melodic materials that occur in the work.

The mezzo-soprano voice is used as an instrument within the orchestra rather than as a soloist in the usual way. The voice color is associated with alto flute and bass clarinet and the text is simply "vocalise" or phonetic.

The large aspects of the continuity and form are fixed but there are areas of composed figures, chords and textures that are spontaneously sequenced and formed in the process of performing. These areas occurring at various points in the structure of the work are composed "sound environments" of instrumental materials which can be explored and expressed differently in each performance.

The essential "poetics" of the work for me, were in creating the warm, rich sounds of voice, flute and clarinet in relation to the more "classic" string trio sound and the percussive nature of the piano, vibraphone and marimba. The composition is really "about" these instrumental characteristics and their potentials of being highly individualistic (soloistic) as well as becoming again an equal but essential element within the orchestral sound texture.


More Information Mezzo Voice solo, Piano/Celeste one player. The conductor needs an arrow pointer (provided with the score).

Mezzo, AltFl., B-cl., Pn. (also Cel.), Perc., Vln., Va., Vc

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Selected Performances 1981-05-28 Saarbruecken, Germany
Ensemble: Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbruecken
Conductor: Earle Brown
Soloist: Hanna Aurbacher, voice

1981-07-01 Yale Summer school, Norfolk, Conn. USA
Conductor: Arthur Weisberg

1981-07-28 Aspen Music Festival
Conductor: Earle Brown

1982-03-07 Cal Arts Contemporary Music Festival, Los Angeles
Ensemble: Calarts Twentieth Century Players

1987-05-11 Auditorium RAI, Rome
Ensemble: Ensemble Gruppo Musica d'Oggi
Conductor: Earle Brown

1989-12-01 Oberlin College Conservatory of Music
Ensemble: Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble
Conductor: Earle Brown

1995-01-15 Leipzig
Conductor: Earle Brown

2012-09-16 Heidenheim, a.d. Brenz, Germany
Ensemble: Ensemble Audite Nova
Conductor: Manuel Nawri

Centering: The Music of Earle Brown (released 1997)
Performed by: San Francisco Contemporary Music Players
Produced by: Newport Classic

Buy this recording New Port Classic

Synergy (released 1994)
Performed by: Ensemble Avantgarde Leipzig
Produced by: Hat Hut Records

Buy this recording Hat Hut