Chamber music for woodwinds and piano are featured during Serenata of Santa Fe’s “Old, New, Borrowed and Blue” concert at 7 p.m. on January 19 at First Presbyterian Church.
“What’s Going On” for woodwind quintet, which was composed in 2018 by John Steinmetz, is one of two pieces by living composers on the program.
“What’s Going On is a statement as well as a question, and it springs from a feeling I have had my whole life that I don’t quite understand what is going on,” explains Steinmetz via email.
“My fellow humans do things that don’t make sense to me, and I don’t even understand my own behavior or my reactions,” Steinmetz continues. “The world is full of beauty and is also baffling. The piece doesn’t try to deal with everything in the world, but presents four perspectives, with different moods and energies. The music is not meant to give answers but to stimulate a listener’s imagination.”
During the writing of the piece, many ideas and thoughts floated through Steinmetz’s head including the traditions of singing and dancing in various indigenous cultures and how living on this planet involves loss.
“The fourth movement, ‘Loss,’ has a lot of grief in it,” he adds. “At the moment our species is facing the possibility of extraordinary loss as we continue to degrade our own habitat. The music grieves about all of this. At the very end, the audience sings the last note. I suppose this is a way of saying that we are all in this together.”
The program also features works by Jennifer Higdon (b.1962), Wallingford Riegger and Beethoven that are played by Diva Goodfriend-Koven (flute), Pamela Epple (oboe), James Shields (clarinet) Scott Temple (horn), Toni Lipton (bassoon) and Yi-heng Yang (piano).