composition

Sonata

for Baritone Saxophone and Piano

  • Genre
    Chamber
  • Commissioned by/written for
    Kenneth Tse
  • Year completed
    2008
  • Year revised
  • Timing
    14:10
  • Catalog number
    209
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  • 5
    known performances
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The Sonata for Baritone Saxophone and Piano was begun on February 18, 2008 and completed on the following April 7th. It is the third of four sonatas that I have written for Kenneth Tse, one for each of the four major saxophones. The present work comprises three movements, each set to a tempo marking of 76 beats per minute. However, the mood of each movement is quite different from the other two, the first being a bolero, with a distinct Spanish flavor and rhythms. It opens and closes with the advanced saxophone technique of slap-tonguing. The second movement is set as a funeral march, a form the composer returns to from time to time to keep himself mindful of the brevity of life on this earth. The mournful outer sections contrast with a rather anguished outcry of grief in the middle. The third movement forms a whirlwind tarantella, with tonal divagations sometimes far removed from its central tonality of D Major, which complements the tonalities of D Minor in the first movement and F Minor in the second. The work was premiered by Tse and pianist Jason Siffert on November 14, 2008 at the University of Iowa. Another work I wrote for Tse was premiered on that same recital, namely Fisherman of the Fragrant Harbor. On the occasion of the recording of the work in 2011, I made numerous minor revisions to the score. Originally as written, in fact, there was another movement between the second and third movements of the final version. I removed it at the request of the dedicatee, due to the fact that with it, the work would have been too long for the volume of air that is required by this large member of the saxophone family. Not to waste a good movement, I reworked it, making it the final movement of my Sonata for Flute and Piano.

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