for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra with Piano Obbligato

  • Genre
    Solo Instrument with Orchestra
  • Commissioned by/written for
    David Wright
  • Year completed
  • Year revised
  • Timing
  • Catalog number
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The Concerto per Sassofono Tenore e Orchestra con Piano Obbligato was begun on October 6, 2007 and finished at the end of that year. I met the dedicatee at the 14th World Saxophone Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia in the summer of 2006, and heard him play an impressive recital there. Wright also heard the premiere of my Martyrs for the Faith at the same Congress, and shortly thereafter asked me to write a work for him. After some discussion, and my coming to the realization that there are comparitively few concertos for tenor saxophone and orchestra, I decided on that combination. The concerto is cast in four movements, and like many of my recent works, is personalized for the dedicatee, whose full name is David Andrew Wright. Thus, I used the musical letters in the dedicatee's full name in several ways throughout the work. They are perhaps most in evidence in the second movement, where these notes are used to form the opening chord, but they may also be found at the beginning of measures 85-87 in the first movement and in other places. Wright's favorite hymns are also used to further personalize the work. In the third movement, the listener will hear small bits of "As the Deer" and "Fairest Lord Jesus", both heard only in very fragmentary form. The last movement incorporates some jazz elements, in keeping with the dedicatee's interest in that form of musical expression. The first movement is virtually a perpetuo moto movement for the soloist, who is given long strings of 32nd notes. The basic tonality of this movement is B-flat minor, although many other tonal areas are covered, along with some sections that verge on atonality. The key center of the second movement, a scherzo, is G major. This movement is characterized by tossing of frag- ments back and forth between the soloist and the woodwind section. The third movement is tonally centered in C minor, and is slow and somber in character. The mood is one of resignation, and few climaxes are reached. The solo part is lyrical, and the tonal structure of this movement is more focused than it is in the other movements. The final movement is full of vital rhythmic energy, and is marked by frequent changes of meter throughout. It is centered around the tonal area of B flat major, and ends firmly in this key. The soloist is once again given a lot of opportunities to display his virtuosity in this movement, which concludes with a lick that takes him from the top of his range to the bottom.

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