The Wind Racers
The Wind Racers is a fast and powerful work that plays off a single 5-note motive that continues to build in energy to the very end. This small melodic idea, which is first stated by the Clarinets, gets passed around the ensemble with slight changes as notes get added or altered. While trying to come up with a title, the idea that first came to mind was a group of "creatures" flying around, weaving in and out and between each other, just as the motive does in the piece. I kind of pictured the scene from Avatar where the main character first learns to fly, swooping down and left and
right, playfully flying close to land masses, and striving for that next rush of adrenaline, just like the experience of riding a roller coaster. The Wind Racers tries to capture that sense of excitement that gets your heart pumping faster. The soaring woodwinds that trade off the main motive juxtaposed with the warmth of the brass section creates a unique dynamic featuring intensely fast and bright flourishes layered over a strong and bold harmonic landscape. The Wind Racers is a challenging and captivating work that will grab your attention and hold you to the final note.
In addition to being one of Stanton’s Staff Selections for the 2015-16 school year and one of J. W. Pepper’s selections for Editor’s Choice, The Wind Racers was selected as a Reviewer’s Choice in the February edition of The Instrumentalist Magazine quoted below saying:
This piece would make an excellent opener. The harmonic structure of the piece is interesting, with full and lush chords supporting fast woodwind motives. The melodies spread mainly in the high brass. The song sounds fresh out of The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and certainly has several soundtrack moments.
Percussion parts take a minimum of six players, and while there is nothing extremely difficult, there is enough to keep them busy, and their parts are essential to the feel of the song. Your brass section will be challenged on articulation, double tonguing, and glisses, although the range is fairly moderate. ($85, Alfred, 4:30) K.S.