4 Vocalises is a set of four textless pieces for female voice and alto saxophone. The voice is essentially treated as an instrument and is certainly an equal partner to the saxophone (and vice-versa) throughout the work. Both serve equally often as the predominant melody, a counterpoint, and an accompaniment. The non-text is not notated in a phonetic alphabetical system because I did not want to give the impression that the cleanliness of vowel sounds and precise diction was more important than color matching with the saxophone.
The four movements are as follows:
1. Berceuse is an essentially homophonic and continually modulating lullaby. The voice and saxophone regularly trade roles as main melody and accompaniment.
2. Fsss p•! features predominantly non-vocal sounds from the voice and wild melodic turns, tremolos and other extended sounds from the saxophone. The movement closes with an extended saxophone solo leading into the peaceful
3. Nocturne which opens with voice alone on a closed mouth hum. The saxophone joins in slow imitation as this predominantly slow and quiet movement unfolds with alternating conjunct and disjunct melodic figures.
4. Heterophönk closes the set as a heterophonic dance featuring asymmetrical and changing meters. The voice begins by articulating structural pitches of the saxophone’s detailed line then almost completely doubles the saxophone line in full detail.
4 Vocalises was composed for Jill Pearon and Timothy McAllister.