“Sterlingman” Suite For Woodwind Quartet, Op. 30

/“Sterlingman” Suite For Woodwind Quartet, Op. 30
“Sterlingman” Suite For Woodwind Quartet, Op. 302017-11-24T13:36:05-07:00

Project Description

“Sterlingman” Suite for Woodwind Quartet

Opus 30 – 1955

This work was requested in a 1955 telephone call from Louis Speyer, long-time distinguished English horn player of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, who needed some music for his Berkshire Woodwind Ensemble and his students to play at Tanglewood and in Cambridge, Mass. It happened that the composer had just completed a chamber opera, “Sterlingman,” which calls for four singers, woodwind quartet and piano. From the score of the opera, a suite for the woodwind quartet was therefore drawn. From the score of the opera, a suite for the wind quartet was therefore drawn, often incorporating passages played in the opera itself by the piano. The nine movements, some eight minutes in duration, evoke various moments in the opera; the general mood of those situations is largely expressed in the title designations.

“Sterlingman,” a pointed satire adapted from a short story by the Russian humorist Arkady Avérchenko, with an English libretto by the composer, was first performed on April 18, 1957, by the Boston University Opera Workshop directed by Sarah Caldwell, especially produced for television over WGBH, Channel 2 in Boston. The first stage performances of the 45-minute work were at the Second Cleveland May Festival in 1960, and the opera has since been produced at Karamu Theatre (18 performances, 1965) and elsewhere. The woodwind quartet suite, published in 1969, has been widely played nationally and gives a fair idea of the opera’s intent and tone.

View the full score

 

Listen to Klaus Roy’s “Sterlingman”