Sancho and the Windmills (Symphony No. 3, “Don Quixote,” Mvt. 3)
The third of four movements in Robert W. Smith’s epic work Don Quixote, the listener is treated to the comic relief that permeates the entire literary story line. Beginning with the opening bassoon solo characterizing Sancho Panza on his donkey, the composer uses unique percussion effects to convey the hapless hero and his never-ending battle to stay up on his horse Rocinante. The listener can hear the rusty suit of armor as Don Quixote continually falls from his horse in one adventure after another. Perhaps the most memorable imagery in the entire literary epic is Don Quixote’s battle with the windmills. Using harmonic effects combined with unique percussion scoring, the composer has brought this tale to life through the unfocused eyes of the knight. Funny, yet with a sense of sadness, Sancho and the Windmills will be a favorite moment in the performance of Symphony No. 3 “Don Quixote”.
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