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Saxophone quartet : Ockham's Razor : for saxophone quartet SATB

by Paul Stanhope (2001)

Also known as: Ockham’s razor

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Continuum Sax from the CD Icon

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Library shelf no. CD 1513 [Available for loan]

Ockham's razor


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Ockham's razor : saxophone quartet SATB / Paul Stanhope.

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Library shelf no. 785.8714/STA 1 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

The subtitle of this saxophone quartet "Ockham's Razor" refers to the principle of ontological economy attributed to the 14th century philosopher William of Ockham. This principle is usually formulated as "Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity." Colloquially, Ockham's Razor is known as the dictum that "the most simple and obvious explanation is often the most likely one".

The principle of economy has a parallel in my own aesthetic view, namely in that a directness of approach can often provide the most satisfactory solution in working out a compositional problem. In the case of this quartet, one main motif becomes the material for the entire piece, and therefore economy and invention become indispensable principles. Ockham's Razor also suggests a certain directness of language in conveying these means. It should also be obvious that the somewhat academic title is quite tongue-in-cheek given the exuberant nature of the work with its edgy, pop-influenced rhythms and flamboyant musical gestures.

This work was written especially for Continuum Sax who gave the premiere at the 2002 Pan-Pacific Clarinet and Saxophone Convention in Brisbane, 5 July 2002. It is dedicated to James Nightingale; without Jim's much valued technical advice this work would never have reached its present form!

Work Details

Year: 2001

Instrumentation: Soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone.

Duration: 11 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — High level student or professional saxophone quartet

Dedication note: Dedicated to James Nightingale

Written for: Continuum Sax

First performance: by Continuum Sax — 5 Jul 02. Queensland Conservatorium, Brisbane

Composed during the composer's time at Peggy Glanville-Hicks House, Sydney.


Saxophone quartet "Ockham's Razor"

Performances of this work

12 Jul 2012: at World Saxophone Congress XVI (St Andrews, Scotland).

2 May 2011: at The Razor's Edge (Recital Hall East).

5 Jul 02: Queensland Conservatorium, Brisbane. Featuring Continuum Sax.

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