Five Movements for Saxophone Quartet (1996)

for saxophone quartet

total duration: 23 minutes

Audio Excerpts

Programme Notes

The Five Movements for Saxophone Quartet were composed for the Senarius Saxophone Quartet, and were performed by them at the International Saxophone Festival in Wakefield, England.

Saxophone quartets seem to be overtaking string quartet in sheer numbers of performers, and in the composer’s opinion forms a fascinating way in which issues of ensemble and the like can be address with wind instruments, providing as it does an entire family of instruments in a similar way to the idiom of string quartet.

Each of the five movements of this work are contrasting. The first evolves from an amorphous sound-world, gradually accelerating until the end of the movement, with figures being passed around each instrument, building in texture. The second movement is a showcase in atmospherics for the tenor saxophone, utilizing extensive multiphonics to create eerie soundworlds. The third movement starts in total contrast, with the entire ensemble playing repetitious rhythmic figures, broken up only by short figures on the tenor saxophone, evolving to a series of different textures, some almost pointillistic in nature. The fourth movement is a slow, tender movement which makes much use of canonic figures being passed around the accompanying instruments to create a rippling mood. The final movement, subtitled “GameBoy Music”, again showcases a total contrast with the previous material, utililizing aspects of techno music to produce an infectiously joyous celebration in music.

notes by Matthew Hindson.

CD Recording Available?

    A recording of the last movement, GameBoy Music, is available on the CD Continuum Sax.

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