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Three Short Pieces
for alto saxophone and piano
(1997)

 

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The second and third movements of this set were composed for, and premiered by, Matthew James as "Two Short Pieces" during the University of Toledo's Spring Festival of 1997. Later, a third movement (actually used as the first movement) was added. I have added descriptive subtitles to help with interpretation and to clarify the approach I took toward the writing of each piece. In the first movement, there are sections in which the players seem to be playing "out of time" and/or "out" of the prevailing "tonality". It is for this reason that I appended the subtitle Playing Out. Gentle Descent, the second movement, creates a continually falling wash of harmonic colors in the piano part and places a high, lyrical, and gradually descending saxophone melody over it. Finally, Perpetual Bop is based on the traditional idea of "perpetual motion", but utilizes a fast, continuous and syncopated type of saxophone playing that could be heard as a distant relative of jazz.

(performance time for all three pieces is ca. 12 minutes)