Henry Wolking
Mannequin Challenge:
Brass quintet

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2017

Primary Genre: Brass Ensemble - 5 brass

Henry Wolking is a composer, trombonist, conductor, teacher, and author. He spent his career at the University of Utah in a variety of teaching roles, retired in 2011, and received the Camerata Award in 2018 in recognition of his contributions to the arts.

From the composer:
“Mannequin Challenge is a work for brass quintet inspired by the participatory video fad in which a group of people are shown posing stock-still for the camera while music is playing in the background. It became a social media participating video fad in November 2016… This work inverts the mannequin challenge sequence in that the music plays first, and then the musicians freeze in brief silence. Though the freezes are only in 3/8 in between the particularly beguiling musical interludes, they may be extended to any length.”

This is a clever work that will appeal to audiences and performers. The music is not overly difficult and skillfully crafted with active interplay among the parts, engaging counterpoint, and rhythmically energetic parts. Mixed meter, jazz-influenced harmony, and motivic development combine to make this a lighthearted and fun piece. Clear dynamics and articulations are indicated in the professionally set score and parts. Ranges are reasonable for all; the most challenging is trumpet 1 to b2. This will make a delightful respite from a serious program or a fun children’s concert selection.

Reviewer: David Stern
Review Published June 13, 2023