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Cape May Breezes for Wind Quintet

When flutist Jenny Cline proposed a commission for The Monmouth Winds, the image of a breezy shore came to mind immediately, with the wind instruments portraying ocean breezes. Only a few thoughts later, this became a suite of Cape May scenes, inspired by the quaint town at the southern tip of New Jersey. Cape May is known for its popular beach, for nature preserves that attract migrating birds and butterflies, for day trips and family vacations, for entertainment by Philadelphia musicians bartering concerts for hotel stays, and above all for its Victorian architecture, summer homes, and bed & breakfasts.

1. BREEZING INTO TOWN (EXIT 0) captures that "almost arrived" feeling of approaching a vacation destination. It's relaxed but perpetually "almost there." Driving to Cape May, one follows the Garden State Parkway until Exit 0, where welcome signs and a little bridge lead to another conduit and then another - it's a beautiful drive, but we're still just almost there.

2. AUTUMN MONARCH MIGRATION is a miraculous and breathtaking annual event that I've been fortunate to witness. The butterflies' annual cycle begins in a small region of Mexico, and they follow milkweed scent and temperature zones up to North America in the spring, migrating back down in the fall. Cape May is the "stiletto heel" of New Jersey jutting out into the ocean, and the bottom tip has nature preserves for migratory rest stops. When the monarchs pass through in October, the sky becomes remarkably dense with fluttering fields of orange. My musical setting is full of light flapping and clouds of busy texture.

3. VICTORIAN GARDEN PARTY is a suite within a suite. Cape May is known for vacation homes with highly-cultivated gardens (often color-coordinated with a building's shutters and ornaments), and elegant garden parties are a way of life. In this movement the wind quintet becomes entertainment at such a party, offering a Sarabande, Bourrée, and Gigue.

4. DUSK AT SUNSET BEACH depicts the tip of the cape where one sees the full horizon to the east, south, and west all at once. This area away from the main beach is known for fishing, finely polished rocks, and the panoramic sunset. Every night at dusk, a flag is lowered to the accompaniment of patriotic songs, often using the casket flag of a recently deceased military veteran.

5. NIGHT BREEZES ON THE BOARDWALK began with the image of fireworks crisply wooshing upward and free-falling downward, building into a cheerful rondo. The wooshing effects may also be heard as a roller coaster, brisk ocean breezes, or anything else one imagines.






last updated February 20, 2020