Roberto Gerhard - Wind Quintet« back to the biography
Gerhard wrote his wind quintet in 1928, when he rounded off his studies with Schönberg, whose extensive Wind Quintet had been published four years before. Gerhard is unlikely to have ever heard the latter work, for after the first performance in Zurich it was hardly ever played; it is evident from Gerhard's quintet, however, that he had seen the score. Although the twelve notes of the musical alphabet, entirely according to Schönberg's system, are presented at the beginning in a simple, linear manner, in the course of the piece only the first seven prove to be of structural significance for the development of the (atonal) style of this complex composition.
Gerhard demonstrates a careful balance between the individual compositional elements of his material and the musical form of the work. In so doing, the piece is exemplary as a practical application of Schönberg's statement that a fundamental series, however important it may be, is not in itself music.
Despite the (Schönbergian) absence of functional tonality, the work contains clear tonal references. Countless melodic and rhythmic elements betray Gerhard's affinity with Villa-Lobos's wind music (Choros).