Walden for wind quintet was written in 1978 and commissioned by the Funen Wind Quintet. The title is taken from the American philosopher and poet Henry David Thoreau’s novel from 1854 about living in the woods, which Thoreau did for two years.
His stay there was an experiment, an attempt to strip away all the artificial needs imposed by society and rediscover man’s lost unity with nature. In that particular sense his novel is a documentation of social inadequacy and a work of poetry (Utopia) as well.
All thought Thoreau himself never completed any actual social analysis he was way ahead of his own time in his perception of the economy and cyclic character of Nature, today known as ecology. His ideas are particularly relevant now that pollution caused by society has reached alarming proportions.
Walden was written in a style of re-cycling and “new simplicity”. A lot of superfluous material has been peeled away in order to give space to different qualities such as identity and clarity. Various layers are encountered in the quintet such as the organic (growth, flowering, Decay), concretism (mechanical patterns) and finally the descriptive (distant horn calls and other ghost-like music of the past enter our consciousness like a dream). Walden consist of four movements.
In 1995 another version for reed quintet was written to the Calefax Reed Quintet.