Composed: 1904 Duration: 4 mins.
Instrumentation: Sax Tenor & Piano Level D
Exam Grade: AMEB Saxophone Tenor Grade Certificate of Performance
ISMN: M-720067-70-4 Catalogue: RM342
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.
The habanera, as a genre, originated in Cuba during the 19th century. It evolved from the contradansa, which arrived in Cuba from France via refugees fleeing the Haitian revolution. By the 20th the habanera had become a musical relic in Cuba, but after travelling back across the sea with sailors, it became so popular in European salons that composers as illustrious as Ravel (Piece en Forme De Habanera) and Georges Bizet (Carmen) had composed tunes using its characteristic rhythm and exotic flavour.
Martin Kay’s Habanera employs the tradition very freely.
Contents: 1 or 2 old mints in my pocket , 3 or 4 laps around the back oval, 5 or 6 overdue library books, 7 or 8 to be in before 9