I – Fast
II – Expressive
III – Explosive
IV – Still
V – Tense
VI – Tender
A work for saxophone quartet and orchestra has the potential for division. Saxophones are something of outsiders in the orchestral world, only occasionally called upon. And yet four saxophones have the power to dominate an entire orchestra. I wanted to create a work where both the quartet and the orchestra share ideas and allow each other to sing. There is drama in every movement, but the instruments face it together.
Of the six movements, the odd-numbered movements tend to be dynamic and louder. Even here, the full power of the saxophones and orchestra is often restrained. The opening starts loudly with the introduction of a falling figure that erratically grows in strength and speed. The third is a series of fortissimos, which quickly exhaust themselves. This music reappears in a distorted form as the climax in the fifth movement, erupting dramatically out of its very quietest moment. Leading to this, a staccato figure grows and shrinks against a constant, uneasy background of bass drum or tam-tam.
The even-numbered movements tend to be more subtle: both the second and sixth are lyrical and expressive. The fourth has the whole quartet playing soft multiphonics, creating a sound similar to that most delicate instrument: the glass harmonica. The work closes with the sound of the orchestra disappearing, leaving just the soft fluttering of the keys of saxophones.
The piece is dedicated to the Arcis Saxophon Quartett.