Robert J. Martin





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.




The Enkidu String Quartet is a Twin Cities-based quartet committed to performing new works by living composers, as well as to touring works of local composers around the Midwest



Martin is a composer of solo and ensemble instrumental and vocal works and a Professor Emeritus at Truman State University, where he has been a curator for the New Horizons Music Festival.  Martin is a member of the Society of Composers, the Iowa Composers Forum, and the American Society for Cybernetics, and the College Music Society


Martin studied at Illinois Benedictine University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where his interests in composition, cybernetics, and learning culminated in an interdisciplinary doctoral thesis in music and psychology under composer Herbert Brun and cybernetician Heinz von Foerster





Enkidu String Quartet | Erik Rohde and Samuel Rudy, violins;

Benjamin Davis, viola; Lars Krogstad Ortiz, cello


in Minneapolis MN

Recording, Mixing, and Mastering by Casey Golden

Release Date: August 12, 2016

Catalog #: RR7942





12345678910111213141516 Prelude: The Four Navajo Snake WindsPinwheelsInterlude: twisting windWeathervane NocturneInterlude: dancing windWind TurbinesInterlude: circling windGusts in a Field of WindmillsInterlude: biting windWindmill In Christina’s WorldInterlude: wandering windSliding GearsInterlude: stinging windWhirligig of the Relentless Dancing BearsInterlude: chilling windMobile Turning in the Wind




Robert J. Martin / Neely Bruce





Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.


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