Four Epigrams

for soprano and alto saxophones

These four pieces can be thought of as short witty dialogues between the two players. I wrote them as a set of compositional exercises in which the same group of pitches (with some transposition) serves as the melodic and harmonic generator for all four movements. Once I settled on this material, the challenge was to be inventive with other compositional techniques as well as musical characters and moods.

The first movement is light and fast. It is based on the interaction of two motives, or characters. The first is a long note with a crescendo, and the second is a group of fast staccato notes. The second movement is slow, lyrical and expressive. Playful trills begin the third movement, but these become aggressive and serious when they return. Finally, the fourth movement finishes the set with fast flowing music that uses much syncopation. Dialogue between the two instruments is featured prominently, so the musical phrases of this movement often overlap and respond to each other in unpredictable ways.

(performance time ca. 6:30)

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