Op. 7 – Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra

Saxophone and Orchestra

  1. Fast, flowing – Maestoso
  2. Interlude
  3. Fast, up tempo

The Saxophone Concerto is an expression of youthful exuberance, inspired by memories of the surfer music which was popular during my childhood, as well as the awesome power of nature embodied in the powerful waves on the beaches of central Florida, where I spent my teens. It is also a work of significant technical and structural complications. As it was my doctoral dissertation piece, it had to be a showcase of orchestration too. It was in this work that I first employed the 5-29 set, a sonority which has had a prominent place in all the music I’ve written since. The first movement combines the functions of an opening allegro with a brooding slow movement. Both elements are present in the brief introduction, which presents a flowing texture of wind instruments representing the seductive call of the surf and the wind, and a solemn chorale in the brass pronouncing the power of nature.

As the orchestration is particularly rich in this opening movement, it is followed by an interlude in which the orchestra is almost absent altogether. For long stretches the saxophone’s soliloquy is punctuated by the bare tones of the piano. The final movement is all fun and games, a beach party played out to a lively beat. A theme introduced in the interlude is greatly expanded upon here, and in the coda, the saxophone does a frenzied dance with the solo timpani.