A CELTIC QUEST
By Jeff Herwig
For Concert Band
A Celtic Quest is meant to represent a breathtaking and exhilarating journey through the Irish countryside.Throughout this journey, the performer experiences different types of music traditional to the Irish nation and the various Celtic peoples.
Wind instruments with long tones throughout the opening A section are to sound and act as bagpipe drones while piccolo, flute 1, and oboe state "the Gaelic theme" for the first time. Pay close attention to when each instrument/instrument group begins to crescendo heading into measure 8.
The Gaelic theme is stated again at measure 10 by the solo piccolo, which is accompanied by several woodwind"bagpipes." Depending on the specific instrumentation of the ensemble, the director may elect to limit the number of background players at measure 10 to achieve the desired balance. However, all players should be back in by measure 14.
The "Lively" B section of the piece begins at measure 19 with the tambourine (followed soon after by the snare drum) establishing the rhythmic feel of this new section. If possible, a higher pitched/brighter sounding snare drum is preferred for this section.
Low winds enter at measure 23, followed by the first partial statement of "the Jig theme" at measure 27 by solo piccolo and trumpet. Depending on the specific instrumentation of the ensemble, the director should consider the number of background players from measure 27 through 30 so that the soloists are not overpowered.
All of the winds enter at measure 37 for the first full statement of the light and celebratory Jig theme. Make sure the players know their role (melody, counter melody, background) at measure 37 vs. measure 41, so they can balance accordingly.
The development section begins at measure 50. There are several different layers/groups of instruments that make up this portion of the piece, beginning with the percussion and "swells" in the low winds. Please inform the low winds that they should embrace the dissonance that occurs during the first measure of each swell. This dissonance resolves at the staccato eighth note located at the end of each swell.
The alto saxophones and trumpets join in with a restatement of the Gaelic theme at measure 56, accompanied by fragments of the Jig theme in the high woodwinds. More voices enter, and the intensity increases to what feels like should be followed by a climax. However, the piece unexpectedly and immediately returns to the style and feel of the A section at measure 76.
The director may elect to limit the number of background players from measure 76 to the end in order to reach the desired balance with the solo instruments.