After Hours

concerto for saxophone and band

The first movement of this concerto begins slowly, depicting solitude and loneliness. Its subtitle, Soliloquy at Midnight, refers to that solitude, a general nighttime atmosphere and the feeling one might get while contemplating a jazz composition around the hour of midnight. Eventually, the tempo increases and more development takes place. At times, saxophones of the band form a separate group within the larger ensemble, sometimes playing with swing to suggest a jazz atmosphere. Still, a seriousness prevails and the movement culminates with a dramatic climax. The ending returns to the quiet, slow and lonely atmosphere of its beginning.

Tango, the second movement, was written because Chien-Yi Huang (who requested this piece) told me that he likes tangos and hoped that I could include one. This tango, however, is not exactly traditional. It begins with the layering of different speeds of a traditional tango rhythm: some are long structural notes while others add accompaniment or melodic ideas. In this sense, it is like a distilled tango in which the essence of tango is made stronger while the original character is altered to become something new.

The subtitle of the final movement, After Hours, is a reference to the jazz players of old who would continue playing and experimenting after they had finished playing their paying "gigs". Although I have never experienced such a lifestyle myself, I find the image of such dedication to one's craft very inspiring. This movement is characterized by energy, drive, syncopation, dialogue, and a good deal of fast music.

The soloist plays three different saxophones in this concerto. The first movement uses soprano saxophone, the second tenor, and the third alto.

(duration ca. 22 minutes)

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