Dying of the light : Pacific Resonance for Peter : for saxophone
by Bruce Crossman (2014)
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My purpose in writing this piece was to create a work for my colleague-Katia Beaugeais-that captured the meditative stillness and living colour fluctuations of the Japanese Honkyoku tradition, reinterpreted for soprano saxophone as a tribute to one of my mentors-Peter Sculthorpe. The piece begins in the ritualised stillness of crotales ringing, as if being a Buddhist prayer bell, and emerges into glossolalia type chanting from the Judaic Christian tradition with shakuhachi-like explosions of air, panting and arch-like exuberant melodic phrases-peppered with grace-note articulations and flourishes to energize it. The ritualised crotales and chant sounds recur as restful refrains and meditative moments throughout the work, whilst exuberantly free bursts of Gagaku-derived Pacific harmony gradually reveal themselves throughout the piece; these climax in an exuberant and liberated athletic section utilising the rich colour range of the soprano saxophone. In quick snatches of sound, the climactic resonance gradually ebbs back to panting, ritualised chant and crotales, and distilled stillness that dies into a sub-tone flourish.
Instrumentation: There are two versions: 1. Soprano Saxophone (Bb) [transposed]; 1 E-note crotales [sounds two octaves higher than written] with brass mallet or small Japanese temple bowl with bead striker; voice [at pitch]. 2. Alto Saxophone (Eb) [transposed]; 1 A-note crotales [sounds two octaves higher than written] with brass mallet or small Japanese temple bowl with bead striker; voice [at pitch].
Duration: 5 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Complex rhythmic detail and changing colour nuances
Dedication note: Dedicated to Peter Sculthorpe
Commission note: Commissioned by Katia Beaugeais.
First performance: Jul 15. 17th World Saxophone Congress, Strasbourg, France
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Shakuhachi, Japanese Honkyoku tradition, Gagaku, Paul Motian
Alto saxophone version selected for the 35th Asian Composers League Conference and Festival 2018, Taiwan.
- Influenced by: Japanese culture
Performances of this work
20 Oct 18: Chamber Music Concert 1, Song Yi Hall, Soochow University, 35th Asian Composers League Conference and Festival, Taiwan
Sep 17: Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England. Featuring Katia Beaugeais.
Jul 15: 17th World Saxophone Congress, Strasbourg, France
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