Composed: 2004 Duration: 10 mins.
Instrumentation: Sax Alto & Piano Level D
Exam Grade: AMEB Saxophone Alto Grade 7,
HSC Saxophone Alto
ISMN: M-720071-32-9 Catalogue: RM375
Level: D Country: Australia
Performed by Rompduo
This piece, a flight of fancy for alto saxophone and piano, comprises three sections, each lasting about a minute or so. The first section kicks off in an energetic and cheerful way with the bright, upper registers of both instruments at play. Also evident in the opening section are ideas such as angular melodic lines played in unison, a little harp-like piano accompaniment texture and a contrasting theme fashioned atop a jazzy, dance-inspired bassline. The middle section of the work is perhaps the more unearthly music of the work. Little updrafts and whirlwinds of tinkling, glockenspiel-like piano figurations add a haunting quality to a chromatically inflected oboe melody, evoking, for me, images of night and a kind of magic. The final section of the piece – which brings us back to earth with its recapitulation of earlier material – is characterised by the sound of its ‘slow-to-start’, hand-cranked engine.
Contents: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces
Performed by Barry Cockcroft
A CD recording is also available.
Octennial Song was written by the composer to celebrate his union with Marianne Rothschild on October 10, 2003. The day of the wedding was also their 8-year anniversary, which explains the title (‘octennial’ pertaining to a period of eight years). The piece received its first hearing during the signing of the register in the ‘Elizabeth Room’ in Lonsdale St. Melbourne under the auspices of the Victorian Register of Civil Marriages. It was performed by Barry Cockcroft on a soprano saxophone (for which it was originally conceived), though it may be played on any saxophone in a spirit of radiant happiness.
These pieces have been chosen to give the advanced saxophonist a melodic selection of traditional studies and caprices. The works were adapted from the violin music of Kreuzter, Rode and Paganini and offer saxophonists the chance to play virtuosic studies that are immensely enjoyable - both to play and to listen to.
Mastering one study at a time is a proven technique for learning these demanding pieces. Precision is vital. Detailed observation of pitch, rhythm and nuance is an effective way to begin the 20 pieces. Careful consideration of each fingering will help to develop fl uent integration of the altissimo register. Meticulous study now will save time and frustration later.
No breath marks are given and often no rests are present to indicate where to breathe. Given the wide variety of tempi that these studies are likely to performed at, each saxophonist must choose their own breathing points. Remember though that breathing is decided by the musical phrase, rather than the phrase being decided by the breathing. It is suggested that the occasional note be ommited to occomodate breathing rather than adjusting the tempo.
Given that most of the studies are intended to be played at a fast tempo, the exact metronome marking is left to the discretion of the player. However, several pieces are quite effective at a slower tempo and it is important to place accuracy above speed.
In most of the pieces, the articulations are taken directly from the violin. Use these original markings or explore additional patterns of your own choosing. Whatever the choice, a clear and consistent approach to articulation is recommended. All octave markings throughout this book are optional. These works are not intended solely for technical development but rather for the musical application of an already advanced technique.
For complimentary further study, Reed Music also publishes Barry Cockcroft’s book ‘Saxophone Technique’.