I was a horn player in high school and in college. Not a good horn player. I was mostly a trombonist but I switched to horn after breaking my arm playing sports and I stuck with it for a while after my arm healed. I remember being terrified playing in wind quintets - I would sit and wait for all the fluffy flute and oboe parts to build and then I would have to enter with something heroic, which I invariably wrecked. Mostly as a kind of rationalization I started thinking that there was a democracy problem in quintets, that my part was harder than the other parts, and that the musical responsibilities were not spread equally though the ensemble. When I got the commission from the Royal Philharmonic Society to write a piece for the excellent Galliard Ensemble all these memories and perceived injustices came back to me, and I vowed to make a more democratic quintet. I devised a plan for the piece that would require all the instruments to play all the time, and always play the same thing, each contributing a continuous flow of almost identical bits of information to a larger almost unison whole. For some strange, completely unmusical reason I am proud that each instrument plays just about the same number of notes. When I wrote it I was sure that my piece had a relationship to the amazing film of the same name by Jean-Luc Godard, but for the life of me I now don't remember what that was.