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The Abundant Air: Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Band (2003)
Dedicatees: West Point Saxophone Quartet, U.S. Military Academy Band, Col. Thomas Rotondi, Jr.
Premiere: West Point Saxophone Quartet, U.S. Military Academy Band, Col. Thomas Rotondi, Jr. United States Military Academy, West Point, Eisenhower Hall, April 16, 2004
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Performed by Kenneth Tse and the Escher String Quartet.
The Saxophone Part is also available separately.
Quintet for Alto Saxophone and String Quartet (2006) features three movements of wildly different character, all influenced by quite different kinds of music. The first movement, “Bright and exuberant,” is simultaneously heroic and breezy. Undulating near-minimalist figures in the strings accompany overarching melodies played by the saxophone. The B section within this A-B-A’ form is more languid, while the outer A sections contain music that is buoyant and striving.
I think of the tune at the center of movement 2 (“Heartfelt and singing”) as an urban spiritual. Though simple, it first finds itself in a bluesy if somewhat chromatically tortured chorale-like setting. Four variations follow. The first preserves the pace of the saxophone melody in a setting of pizzicato strings and short lamenting outbursts. The second variation poses quintuplet perpetual-motion arabesques against the melody while the cello plays with and against the quintuplets in rhythmic syncopation. The third variation spins an uptempo jazz waltz out of the material while the fourth sets the tune lamentingly in surprising harmonies in the strings’ upper registers. A cadenza for the saxophone brings the movement to a somber close.
The third movement is something of a middle-eastern dance, made rhythmically jagged by the everchanging meters. Marked “Dancing, yet driving,” this movement emulates the A-B-A’ shape of the first. However, the B section and the coda recapitulate the tune of the first movement, first in a melancholy mood and then in exuberant conclusion.
Quintet for Alto Saxophone and String Quartet is dedicated to saxophonist Kenneth Tse and the Escher String Quartet.
Performed by: Cory Barnfield (alto saxophone), Krista Wallace-Baz,(piano), JJ Koh (clarinet), Scott Erickson (bassoon)
1. Floating Clouds
2. Stirs the Surface
3. Everything is Alive
Performed on soprano saxophone by Kenneth Tse
Also available for Soprano Saxophone
Antonio Pasculli was born on October 13th, 1842 in Palermo. He began his career as a virtuosic oboist at the age of 14 and by the time he was 18, was professor of oboe and English horn at the Regio Conservatorio di Palermo, a position he held until he became blind in 1913.
He was appointed director of the Corpo Municipale di Musica di Palermo in 1879, but due to his advancing blindness he withdrew from active concert life in 1884 and lived until 1924. Pasculli composed numerous fantasies for oboe and orchestra on themes from the operas of Bellini, Donizetti, Meyerbeer, Rossini and Verdi. His compositions were often considered to be too difficult to be performed and therefore were forgotten by oboists until modern times.
Le Api for oboe and piano was first published in 1905 and was dedicated to the Conservatorio di Musica di Palermo. Although similar to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee, Le Api was written first, and is part of the three virtuosic studies Pasculli wrote for the oboe. From a postscript to the third study we learn that these were first performed in the big hall of the Conservatorio di musica in Milan on July 14, 1874.
The long legato ties are performed with circular breathing and there is only one place where the player can take a breath (break between phrases) in the entire piece.
Performed live by Rompduo
Performed live by saxophonist Joseph Lulloff and pianist Jun Okada.
Performed by Rompduo