Norwegian Rhapsody after Grieg (Norsk Rhapsody etter Grieg)

for Saxophone Quartet

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  • Timing
    7' 30''
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  • 2
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February 15, 2020
8:00 pm
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Norwegian Rhapsody after Grieg, the 16th work in my "After" series, was written for my long-time friends in the Zzyzx Quartet, Stacy Wilson, Stephen Page, Matt Evans, and Dana Booher. All four musicians are of the top rank, and are individually and corporately exponents of new music for the saxophone. My saxophone quartet Aabac was also written for their quartet, and despite its radically different musical style, the present work is intended as a sort of companion piece for the earlier one. I sketched out a few themes for the Rhapsody as early as June 27, 2018, but the work was composed in nine composition sessions between July 13th and July 21st of the same year. Although no actual music by the composer I was mimicing was used in this work, the spirit and joie de vivre of the Norwegian master's work was my guiding principle. I also attempted to capture something of his melodic contour and harmonies. The work is structured in five main sections played without pause, each of the first four sections cast more-or-less in ABA form. Each is also based upon a different ersatz Norwegian folk tune of my own creation, although the final section in D minor is clearly modeled on Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from his Peer Gynt. This modeling is suggested both in the short quotes from its theme and the fact that the tempo increases to a frenzy at the conclusion of the piece. The work is intended as a display piece for the musical artistry and technical wizardry of the dedicatees, and I have sought to make it a fun work for performers and audiences alike.

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