Vivian Fine





Dancing Winds




11 minutes


Flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon


Catskill Woodwind Quintet


August 28, 1987, Salt Springville, NY, Windfall Dutch Barn


Catskill Woodwind Quintet, Redwood Records, ESC-48. Also available on demo CD

  1. Andante molto
  2. Allegro
  3. Andante molto
  4. Energico

program notes

The title is descriptive–the instruments express themselves as dancers and also relate to each other in dance-like fashion. The piece is in four sections, and the textures and tempi resemble a baroque dance format of slow, fast, slow, fast. ….The slow first movement, “Andante molto,” features the quintet as a composite instrument, with long phrases created by different pairings amongst the group….Although dissonance is present, it is not the focal point….Counterpoints of spacious ascending and descending gestures, long phrases, and some exchange and reordering of material give the first section a graceful balletlike character
      …The tempo is faster and the mood becomes humorous for the second section as playful figures of neighbor-tones, repeated notes, and seventh chords are lightheartedly tossed from one instrument to another….. The slow third section begins with a sensuous anacrusis figure introduced by the flute and then echoed by the other instruments in different mutations, creating an almost hypnotic mood….Fine manipulates the anacrusis cleverly, enlarging the gesture or reducing the figure to just a grace note ….The theme from the first movement returns, and then the final fast movement abruptly commences. Previous materials are transformed and incorporated into a powerful, onrushing momentum. No more graceful ballet—this is modern dance!

–adapted from The Music of Vivian Fine, by Heidi Von Gunden, Scarecrow Press, 1999


“Slightly acerbic, but with touches of humor and a lively sense of dialogue, this wind quintet’s contrasting sections cover a great deal of ground with wit and concision.”

–Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, June 9, 1988

audio files

first movement (excerpt)

second movement (excerpt)

third and fourth movements