Release Date: August 12, 2016
Catalog #: RR7942
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
String Quartet

Embrace The Wind

Myth, Art, Play, Culture, Spirit, And Energy: A Cycle of String Quartets

Robert J. Martin composer
Enkidu String Quartet

With his Ravello release EMBRACE THE WIND: A CELEBRATION OF WIND AND WIND MACHINES, composer Robert J. Martin communicates the wonder that humanity has for wind through a cycle of string quartets rooted in images and emotions played out across histories as diverse as ancient Phoenicia and modern wind farms. The cycle uses contrasting sonorities and melodic material that range from thorny to lush to portray the influence of wind on culture and civilization, from the joy of a child's pinwheel to the power of giant wind turbines.

Martin uses strings to portray wind in unique ways. The strings moan like wind, imitate mechanical toys, howl, bite, lull us with gentleness, and show us the sweetness of our world. This is a cycle of contrasts where the grinding of sliding gears in one quartet makes the quiet back and forth movement of a weathervane in another all the sweeter. The use of slides and portamentos gives these quartets a unique energy, while the use of frequent tone painting and image-based passages makes these pieces accessible to everyone. Every player is a soloist in these virtuosic quartets, and nowhere does this emerge more than in the solo and duet interludes between quartets.

The cycle begins with a brief evocation of four snake winds, primal forces in the Navajo creation story, winding their way to sky and then returning. Pinwheels, Gusts in a Field of Windmills, Wind Turbines, and Sliding Gears evoke the organic spontaneity of wind as it drives the hypnotic motion of wind machines. Weathervane Nocturne and Christina’s World explore images of night, isolation, and peace. Whirligig of the Dancing Bears captures the magic of mechanical bears dancing faster and faster as the wind increases. The final movement, Mobile Turning in the Wind, brings the cycle to a close with energetic cadences that portray a giant mobile turning in the wind, bringing us to a sense of dramatic finality. The nine quartets and seven solo and duet interludes that fill this seventy-five minute album provide the listener with many different listening experiences linked by a focus on emotion and imagery.


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Artist Information

Robert J. Martin

Robert J. Martin


Robert J. Martin is known for music projects based on images and metaphors from the world at large. Martin's composition titles and, in the case of multi-movement works, movement titles are image-based, giving listeners a puzzle to solve or an idea to listen for. Examples of Martin's image-centered pieces include works for soloists such as Limoncello Suite for cello; My Mind's Attic for tenor pan; Hommage Á Tom et Jerry for soloist alternating between flute and piccolo (recorded by Ronda Ford Benson, available from; Ten Thousand Things Moving for flute; Two for One, for soloist alternating between alto and soprano saxophone; and a body of piano works, including the two works in this set: 100 Views of Mt. Fuji: 100 Pieces in One Hundred Minutes - Homage to Hokusai and stone & feather. Ensemble image-based pieces include Here There Be Dragons for brass choir; Palace of the Winds for flute choir; Embrace the Wind: A Celebration of Wind and Wind Energy, a seventy-five minute cycle for string quartet; and The Owl and the Pussycat for harp and flute.