of Light and Shadows

Duration: 17 Minutes

of Light and Shadows is a sonata in two very contrasting movements that reflect on the interactions between light and light’s shadow-creating obstructors.

The first movement, Luminant Shadows, is a quiet nocturne in arch form, which makes use of some of the unique extended timbres of the saxophone and extreme ranges of the piano as shroud to more traditional musical materials also contained in the movement.

The second movement, Flickering Beams, Perpetual Wind, is a very fast perpetuum mobile. Imagine, if you like, a straightened-out cyclone: streams of objects pass a flickering light at rapid and potentially destructive speed as if propelled forward by a constant wind.

of Light and Shadows is my second sonata for alto saxophone and piano, composed fifteen years after my first, Sonata deus sax machina. It was commissioned by a consortium of saxophonists initiated by pianist Liz Ames.

of Light and Shadows was completed in Potsdam, NY on July 29, 2015.

Give a listen to the definitive recording my Stephen Page and Liz Ames of of Light and Shadows.



January 16, 2016 at the 2016 Navy Band Symposium, Goodson Recital Hall, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA, by Doug O’Connor, saxophone and Liz Ames, piano.


  • Alto Saxophone
  • Piano


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