I’m a few days late for this one, but as I finished composing of Light and Shadows, I realized that this week marks the 10 year anniversary of the completion of my 2005 Saxophone Quartet. (It was completed on July 21, 2005.)
Composed for Ara Quartet, I approached this piece as an opportunity to exploit many of the colors and effects completely unique to the saxophone as I have done in many of my other works for saxophone, I chose to use a more “traditional” approach as if I were writing for a more “traditional” genre, such as a string quartet.
It is in four movements and opens with a soprano saxophone solo that exposes the listener to all of the melodic motives and sets used in the entire piece. The remainder of the first movement titled Recitative and Declaration is a fast, loud, and heavily accented passage in a kind of monothematic sonata-allegro form.
The second movement, Scherzo Psycho, is much lighter in spirit yet darkly cartoonish in character with its pointil- listic opening followed by the frenzied, twisting melodic lines of the main body of the movement.
The Motet that follows is strictly mono-modal (F Ionian) and is indeed based on motives presented in the first two movements, although not so apparent by the radical difference in style. Capturing the spirit of counterpoint of the sixteenth century, this movement is a nod to the great George Rochberg who passed away earlier in 2005. I later arranged this movement for a small chamber orchestra.
The Finale is a fantasy on the opening motives of the recitative that begin the work. In a disproportionate ABA form, it is a fast and aggressive closer to the quartet.
Here is a performance by the great Masato Kumoi Saxophone Quartet in Tokyo on April 11, 2009: