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Saxophone Works

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  • Flight of Icarus (2012) 14’ • saxophone quartet (SATB)
    Movement I: Icarus Ascending
    Movement II: Deadalus Mourns

    YOUTUBE AUDIO

    Performed by the
    Capitol Quartet
    Recorded by the Capitol Quartet for Blue Griffin Recording • Purchase recording

    COMMISSIONER
    Commissioned by the Margot Music Fund and the
    Capitol Quartet

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41723 • $56.99 • full score and saxophone parts • click to order
    114-41723M • $42.99 • set of parts •
    click to order
    114-41723S • $23.99 • full score only •
    click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.114417230 • $56.99 • full score and saxophone parts • click to order
    PR.11441723M • $42.99 • set of parts •
    click to order
    PR.11441723S • $23.99 • full score only •
    click to order
    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    One of the first pieces I ever composed was a short saxophone quartet named Soaring Eagle. I was eighteen and played the alto saxophone in high school, so it was quite natural to write a piece that my marching band classmates could play. While that early work has long been forgotten, I have always remembered feeling exhilarated at hearing those four saxophones dipping and weaving around each other as they played the piece’s main theme. When the Capitol Quartet commissioned me for a new work, I decided to revisit the topic of soaring, to see if I could capture the essence of exhilaration once again. Additionally, I recently wrote a choir piece on the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar. One of the poems, Not They Who Soar, came to mind as I began this piece; the haunting theme of that setting serves as the basis for the musical material.

    Flight of Icarus is based on the Greek legend of Daedalus, an architect and engineer, and his son Icarus. On the island of Crete, Daedalus had built a maze for King Minos. Minos imprisoned a Minotaur (a half-bull, half-human creature) within the maze and annually sacrificed fourteen Athenians to the creature. Being an Athenian himself, Daedalus was upset with this arrangement and helped another king to successfully navigate the maze and kill the Minotaur. Minos sent his army after Daedalus in retaliation, but Daedalus was prepared. He and his son Icarus affixed wings crafted of wax and feathers to their backs and took to the sky. Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too low, so the waters would not weigh down the feathers, nor too high for the sun to melt the wax. Icarus, however, was so elated with the thrill of flying that he drew too close to the sun. The wax melted, and Icarus fell to his watery demise.

    Flight of Icarus consists of two movements. Icarus Ascending follows Icarus’ flight toward the sun and subsequent fall; Daedalus Mourns depicts a father’s grief for his lost son.

    This piece was commissioned by the Capitol Quartet and the Margot Music Fund.
    -S.G.

  • Fragmented Spirit (1998) 7’30” • alto sax, pno

    AUDIO
    Excerpt of Fragmented Spirit
    Performed by
    HD Duo (Michael Duke, saxophone, and David Howie, piano)
    From incandescence, Saxophone Classics CC 4002
    Available from
    The Classics LabelsPurchase recording

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41106 • $25.95 • full score and sax part • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.114411060 • $25.95 • full score and sax part • click to order

    ERRATA
    Performers, the following mistakes are in the printed scores. Please correct:
    - m. 109, beat 2 - change the saxophone to have a concert C instead of a concert A, so that it matches the piano part. The transposed pitch will need to be changed in the sax part too.
    - m. 119 - the piano has an extra, 6th beat in this 5/4 measure. Remove the extra beat at the end of the measure.

    PROGRAM NOTES
    fragmented
    i feel
    so
    fragmented
    i
    am
    small bits
    scattered over cement
    glittering specks, dark lines
    i don’t know
    how
    to reassemble myself

    fragmented
    i sound
    listen
    open my jaw
    i gurgle, cough, gasp
    a silent, violent scream
    my throat cannot
    recall
    its primary function

    a spirit in pieces
    you see it
    strewn everywhere as if on parade
    you have power
    you can stomp on it
    smash it
    or you can collect the bits
    and teach my hands
    how
    to reshape my tattered spirit
    into vibrance.

    -S.G.
  • Hell Hath No Fury (2018) 5’10” - 5”25 • saxophone quartet
    The Capitol Quartet has exclusive performance rights until January 18, 2019 or one year beyond the date of the premiere, whichever is last. They also have exclusive recording rights until July 18, 2019.

    COMMISSIONER
    Capitol Quartet

    PROGRAM NOTES
    The phrase “Heav’n has no rage, like love to hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn’d” was penned by William Congreve in 1697 in his tragedy play The Mourning Bride. Over the centuries, the original phrase morphed into the more commonly known phrase “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” While the original phrasing has lost some of its elegance in its shortened modern form, the sentiment remains the same – a scorned woman is going to be steaming mad.

    Hell Hath No Fury is my take on the Lilith myth. Lilith was the first wife of Adam, who God created before he made Eve. Lilith was cast out of Eden when she refused to be subservient to him, particularly in regards to amorous matters. As the piece begins, we hear Lilith screaming in fury and anguish. This is followed by a calmer section, in which she is in shock at her fate. Lilith once again lashes out in anger before she sullenly walks out of the garden of Eden forever.

    Hell Hath No Fury was commissioned by the Capitol Quartet (Christopher Creviston, soprano saxophone; Joseph Lulloff, alto saxophone; David Stambler, tenor saxophone; and Henning Schröder, baritone saxophone) and the Margot Music Fund.

    -S.G.
  • Phoenix Rising (2016) 10’ • solo soprano sax -or- alto flute/flute (one player) -or- clarinet
    COMMISSIONER
    Christopher Creviston

    ORDERING SCORES

    Theodore Presser Company
    #114-41826 • $15.99 • click to order

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Legends of the phoenix are found in stories from ancient Egypt and Greece. While each culture possesses a range of stories encompassing the phoenix myth, these tales tend to share similar traits: a sacred bird with brilliantly colored plumage and melodious call lives for typically five hundred years; then the bird dies in a nest of embers, only to be reborn among the flames. In Egyptian stories, the phoenix gathers scented wood and spices for its funeral/rebirth pyre, then collects the ashes from its earlier incarnation and flies them to the temple of the sun in Heliopolis to offer as a tribute to the sun god. In Greek myths, the phoenix was approximately the size of an eagle and was adorned with red and gold feathers; it would fly from either India or Arabia to Heliopolis to give its offering. The bird’s association with immortality and resurrection are particularly intriguing aspects of these tales, giving numerous writers (including William Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling) a rich resource for their own stories.

    Phoenix Rising consists of two movements.
    I. Dying in embers represents an old phoenix who is settling on top of a pile of embers and breathing its last breath; II. Reborn in flames depicts the newly born phoenix getting its first taste of flight. Phoenix Rising was commissioned by saxophonist Christopher Creviston.
    -S.G.
  • Pieces of Sanity (2007) 11’ • alto sax, pno
    Movement 1: Rage
    Movement 3: Euphoria
    Movement 2: Despair

    Movement 4: Possessed
    Movement 5: Stoic

    YOUTUBE AUDIO
    Performed by the Creviston Duo
    Recorded by the Creviston Duo on CD Baby • Purchase recording

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41388 • $25.95 • full score and sax part • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.114413880 • $25.95 • full score and sax part • click to order

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Pieces of Sanity, for alto saxophone and piano, contains five miniatures. Each short movement represents a frozen snapshot of a particular state of mind. We follow the protagonist as he experiences five states: Rage and Despair (movements 1 and 2) give way to Euphoria (movement 3); Possessed (movement 4) culminates into Stoic (movement 5).
    -S.G.
  • Quicksilver (2017) 24’ • alto sax concerto with wind ensemble Enter description here.
    Mvmt. 1:
    Antics of a Newborn God
    Mvmt. 2:
    Guiding Souls to the Underworld
    Mvmt. 3:
    Messenger of Olympus

    VIDEO
    Performed by Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, saxophone, and the University of Massachusetts Wind Ensemble; Matthew Westgate, conductor

    All consortium members hold exclusive performance and commercial recording rights until 5/30/19.

    COMMISSIONERS
    • Appalachian State University • John Stanley Ross, conductor • Scott Kallestad, saxophone
    • Arizona State University • Gary W. Hill, conductor • Christopher Creviston, saxophone
    • Baylor University • J. Eric Wilson, conductor • Michael N. Jacobson, saxophone
    • Butler University and the Butler University chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi • Michael J. Colburn, conductor • Heidi Radtke, saxophone
    • Carthage College • James Ripley, conductor • Andrew Carpenter, saxophone
    • Louisiana State University • Damon Talley, conductor • Griffin Campbell, saxophone
    • Penn State University and the Margot Music Fund • Dennis Glocke, conductor • David Stambler, saxophone
    • SUNY Potsdam • Brian K. Doyle, conductor (head of consortium) • Casey Grev, saxophone
    • University of Alabama • Kenneth Ozzello, conductor • Jonathan Noffsinger, saxophone
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst • Matthew Westgate, conductor • Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, saxophone
    • University of Michigan at Ann Arbor • Michael Haithcock, conductor • Timothy McAllister, saxophone
    • University of Nebraska-Lincoln • Carolyn Barber, conductor • Paul Haar, saxophone
    • University of North Carolina at Greensboro • John R. Locke and Kevin M. Geraldi, conductors • Steven Stusek, saxophone
    • University of Oregon • Rodney Dorsey, conductor • Idit Shner, saxophone
    • University of South Carolina • Scott Weiss, conductor • Clifford Leaman, saxophone

    PROGRAM NOTES
    In addition to being another name for the element mercury, “quicksilver” is used to describe something that changes quickly or is difficult to contain. My concerto of the same name was inspired by the Roman god Mercury, as well as the mercurial nature of the saxophone: unpredictable, very lively, and volatile. Mercury (known as Hermes in Greek mythology) is best known for his winged shoes, which allowed him to fly swiftly as the messenger of his fellow Olympians. Mercury had other duties too, including serving as the god of merchants, travelers, and tricksters; he also ushered souls of the departed to the Underworld.

    Quicksilver tells three tales of the Roman god. The first movement (Antics of a Newborn God) opens with the birth of Mercury; after he takes his first steps, he toddles around, gleefully looking for mischief. He stumbles across a herd of cows that belong to his brother Apollo; Mercury slyly lets the cows out of their pen before toddling onward with his mischief-making. In the second movement (Guiding Souls to the Underworld), Pluto, god of the Underworld, bids Mercury to bring him fresh souls. The movement begins with death-knells tolling for humans who are about to die; Mercury picks up these souls and leads them down to the gates of the Underworld. The third and final movement (Messenger of Olympus) depicts Mercury as he is busily running errands for various gods and goddesses. We first encounter him mid-flight as he dashes to earth to find Aeneas, a Trojan lieutenant who had been run out of Troy by the invading Greeks. Aeneas is on a quest to find land on which to establish a new city that would eventually become Rome. While traveling, he is distracted from his quest when he meets the beautiful queen Dido. They live together for many years before Mercury intervenes; he chastises Aeneas for giving up on his quest and persuades him to pick it up again. As Aeneas mournfully resumes his journey, we hear Dido perish of a broken heart. Mercury then takes to the skies to seek out Perseus, who is preparing to kill the Medusa, the hideous gorgon who has snakes for hair and a gaze that turns those who catch her glance into stone. Mercury advises Perseus on how to slay Medusa and lends Perseus his sword to do the deed. We hear Perseus victorious in the beheading of Medusa, after which Mercury takes to the skies once more to fly home to Olympus.

    Quicksilver was commissioned by Appalachian State University, Arizona State University, Baylor University, Butler University, Carthage College, Louisiana State University, Penn State University, SUNY Postdam, University of Alabama, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, niversity, Baylor University, Butler University, Carthage College, Louisiana State University, Penn State University, SUNY Postdam, University of Alabama, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Oregon, and University of South Carolina.

    -S.G.

    PERFORMANCES
    10/18/17: Crane Wind Ensemble at SUNY Potsdam, NY (world premiere)
    4/14/18: University of Massachusetts Amherst Wind Ensemble at the 36th Annual New England Saxophone Symposium, MA
    4/19/18: University of South Carolina Wind Ensemble, Kroger Center for the Performing Arts, Colombia, SC
    4/26/18: Butler University Wind Ensemble, Indianapolis, IN
    5/10/18: University of Oregon Wind Ensemble, Beall Concert Hall, Eugene, OR
    9/27/18: University of Alabama Wind Ensemble, Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Stubborn as Hell (2011) 5’40” • 2 soprano sax Enter description here.

    YOUTUBE AUDIO

    Mélomane Duo (Kristi Hanno and Jenny Maclay), clarinets

    COMMISSIONER
    Robert Spring


    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    forthcoming…

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Stubborn as Hell was commissioned by virtuoso clarinetist Robert Spring. I heard Bob perform in September 2010 when I attended his clarinet concert at Arizona State University – Tempe. Bob is one of those wondrous musicians that plays the most challenging pieces written for the instrument and make them sound effortless. When he commissioned me, I wanted to write a piece that not only reflected his technical and musical abilities, but also his great sense of humor, hence the title and premise of the piece. The “stubbornness” of the title refers to the manner in which the two instruments incessantly battle each other around the pitch D, and how they willfully get stuck repeating pitches and gestures.

    The composer made an arrangement of the piece for two soprano saxophones in 2016.
    -S.G.
  • Tantrum (2000) 13’30” • alto sax, pno
    Movement 1: Obsessive Behavior
    Movement 3: Fits and Fists
    Movement 2: Lost

    AUDIO

    Performed by the
    Ambassador Duo
    From Illuminations, Equilibrium Records EQ 77

    COMMISSIONER
    Otis Murphy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41107 • $36.95 • full score and sax part • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.114411070 • $36.95 • full score and sax part • click to order

    ERRATA
    Performers, the following mistakes are in the printed scores. Please correct:
    Mvmt 1

    - mm. 19-21 - piano LH is missing an 8vb.
    - mm. 178-184 - piano RH is missing an 8va.
    Mvmt 2
    - m. 7 - the note below the piano LH should say hold to measure 17 (not 87).
    - m. 17 - at the end of the measure & below the staff, there should be an asterisk for a piano pedal lift.
    - m. 29 - piano LH, the grace note to the last beat should only have the lower pitch (strike the upper pitch).
    Mvmt 3
    - m. 61 - the sax trill should have a flat above it instead of a natural. (It is correct in the sax part, since that’s transposed.)
    - m. 137 - the piano is missing a Pedal indication - this begins on beat 1.

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Tantrum, for alto saxophone and piano, has the formal structure of a traditional sonata, but its connection with the historical form stops there. The first movement obsesses continuously on a four note figure (introduced immediately following an extended slow introduction). Lost, the second movement, actually began as a piece for voice and piano; it subsequently lost its text, and the saxophone sings forlornly in its place. The third movement takes a quirky bit of music and modulates it up an interval of a perfect fourth every chance it gets. This high energy piece presents a playful challenge for both the saxophonist and pianist.
    -S.G.
  • Wrath (2016) 14’15” • tenor sax, pno Enter description here.
    The commissioners have exclusive performance rights until 6/8/18 and recording rights until 12/8/18.

    COMMISSIONERS
    Roy Allen, Jr., Carolyn Braus, Steve Carmichael, Christopher Creviston, Casey Grev, J. Michael Holmes, Andrew Hutchens, Jeff Kinsey, Joseph Lulloff, Jonathan Nichol, Jason Oates, Doug O'Connor, Tyrone Page, Jr., Justin Rollefson, David Stambler, and the Margot Music Fund.

    PROGRAM NOTES

    In 2000, I wrote a feisty piece called Tantrum for alto saxophone and piano. Sixteen years later, I decided to revisit Tantrum and re-imagine it as a leaner, meaner, ferocious teenager who has moved on from an infant’s temper tantrum into an all-out vengeful fury. Wrath shares a few structural similarities with Tantrum: both have three movements that follow a fast – slow – super fast pattern; both works also open with a declamatory statement issued by the saxophone; and both are high in energy and very dramatic. Musically, the works are independent.

    One of the intriguing features of
    Wrath was inspired by the manner in which the piece was commissioned. Saxophonist David Stambler and I built a consortium of fifteen saxophonists who all took part in commissioning the piece. I wanted each saxophonist to have multiple opportunities to personalize the music by bringing his or her own interpretation to the notes. So I incorporated several spots in the first movement in which the saxophonists are encouraged to experiment and tinker with the way they perform the written material (you’ll hear a prime example of this in the opening material of the first movement). Additionally, the saxophonists have two spots in which they are encouraged to improvise in the piece, once in the first movement and again in the third.

    -S.G