composition

Concerto after Dvořák (Konzert podle Dvořák)

for Saxophone Quartet and Piano

  • Genre
    Chamber
  • Commissioned by/written for
    United States Navy Band
  • Year completed
    2017
  • Year revised
  • Timing
    16:50
  • Catalog number
    268
No items found.
  • copies sold
  • known performances
  • General notes
No media available.
Location
Date
Time
No events scheduled.
No reviews.

Concerto after Dvořák was initiated when I was contacted in January of 2017 by saxophonist MU1 Dana Booher on behalf of Capt. Kenneth Collins, director of the US Navy Band to ascertain my interest in writing a work to help the Band celebrate the 40th anniversary of its annual Saxophone Symposium in January of 2018. The Band was particularly interested in having a work in my "After" series, a series of works I have been writing in the style of older composers who never wrote for certain instruments. Booher proposed that the great Czech composer Antonín Dvořák serve as the model for the work, which was specified to be a concerto featuring saxophone quartet. Iwas happy to accept the commission, given the excellence of the US Navy Band which had performed and recorded other of my works, and also because I am very fond of the music of this Czech master. I was able to begin work on the Concerto in earnest on July 14, 2017, although I had jotted down a few ideas for the piece as early as the preceding March 7th. I completed the short score on August 10th, and orchestrated it between August 25th and September 7th. The Concerto is cast in the traditional three movements, and the spirit of the piece is intended to be celebratory in nature, given the occasion for which it was written. I used as my primary model from Dvořák's music his Slavonic Dances because of their generally lively and upbeat character. Additionally, I sought to evoke Dvořák's voice through the use of certain gestures, such as the short-short-long rhythm that is found throughout his music, as well as certain melodic and harmonic traits suggestive of his style. Also, like my Bohemian predecessor, I have incorporated much use of the hemiola. I did not, however, seek to completely suppress my own compositional voice, were that even possible. Even though I have tried to imagine what a band work by Dvořák might have sounded like (the closest Dvořák ever got to that genre was his D Minor Serenade for winds and low strings), I realized that the medium itself suggested certain things not found in the Bohemian master's music, foremost of which was the use of saxophones as solo nstruments. Unlike most of my "After" pieces to date, I cast this Concerto in the major mode, although the slow middle movement is largely in the key of F Minor. The Concerto begins with a serious introduction that leads directly into an lively and boisterous exposition that employs three main themes in its modified sonata-allegro structure. The character of these themes ranges from exuberant to reflective, and they are all developed in various ways. The second movement is introspective, as the alto saxophone spins out a doleful Slavic melody, but a middle portion in the parallel major key draws again upon Bohemian-like dance idioms. The finale, in rondo form, is given a tempo marking of Presto, and throughout the movement juxtaposes a theme in the saxophone quartet in the minor mode with a response by the ensemble in the parallel major. Along the way, performers will encounter long streams of quick notes in both solo quartet and ensemble, and the piece concludes in a whirlwind of activity. Concerto after Dvořák was premiered by the US Navy Band, conducted by Capt. Kenneth C. Collins, and with soloists MU1 Jonathan Yanick, MU1 Patrick Martin, MU1 David Babich, and MU1 Dana Booher, on January 12, 2018 at the 40th annual US Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium.

No items found.