Five Mangled Expressions

for Alto Saxophone and Horn

  • Genre
  • Commissioned by/written for
    Stacy Maugans
  • Year completed
  • Year revised
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Five Mangled Expressions was written in eleven days between April 8, 2012 and the following May 6th. My wife and I had met saxophonist Stacy Maugans at several saxophone events and struck up a friendship, which ultimately yielded the present work. Maugans herself selected the instrumentation of the work, desiring to have a work for her and one of her colleagues on the faculty at Valparaiso University. The title of the work was selected before a note of the work was written. Initially, I was going to set several common English expressions, for example, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." After reflection, I decided that it would be more fun to write a piece based on mangled expressions, all of which are humorous combinations of parts of two well-known expressions. There are a few jokes unrelated to the expressions during the course of the work, such as the not-so-subtle quote in both instruments of the famous horn solo that opens Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel and the "silent" ending of the piece. The work comprises five short movements in a pattern of fast-slow-fast-slow-fast. Movements two and four are parallel in that each features one instrument, the saxophone in movement two and the horn in movement four, in a solo capacity, with the other instrument utilized in mainly accompanimental fashion. In the other movements, the two instruments are equal throughout, and alternate in melodic and virtuosic licks.

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