Instrumentation: Solo Saxophone
Duration of the 12 pieces: 18 minutes.
This collection of works contains 12 pieces each 1-2 pages in length. Written as an introduction to my compositional style, the pieces are gently graded from beginner to a moderate level of difficulty. I usually take my time completing my compositions, but on this occasion, all 12 works were written in one afternoon.
Each piece features a short musical idea that is then developed for the remainder of the work. A blues style underpins each composition. As the collection develops, rhythmic complexity increases as do the physical demands of each piece.
About the pieces.
Aries – A short jazz waltz written in a 12 bar blues form. Suitable for a beginning player using a variety of basic rhythms. Taurus – After an introductory 12-bar theme, the piece gradually develops in rhythmic complexity. Using a limited range, the player must incorporate grace notes and triplet rhythms. Gemini – A catchy ‘head’ tune, this 36 bar tune develops on a simple 1-octave descending theme. Cancer – Using very brief thematic material this piece mixes triplets and duple rhythms. Leo – Taking on the role of a walking bass player, the performer must play with feel and groove. Virgo – Featuring larger leaps, this piece begins to challenge the player requiring consistency of attack, good stamina and long phrasing ability. Libra – A straight-ahead swing blues with catchy phrases and some birdesque phrases. Full of familiar riffs, jazz rhythms and a wider range of notes. Scorpio – More like a mini moto perpetuo, there are no breathing spaces in this short work. The player must circular breath or leave out notes while maintaining the flow of the music. Sagittarius – Using a variety of blues scales, the piece focusses on cross-rhythms and is quite relentless from beginning to end. Capricorn – Taking advantage of the full range of the instrument, this piece is first in the collection to feature the gradual harmonic shifting through the use of short repeating phrases. A 12-bar change of style towards the end adds variety before returning to the opening material. Aquarius – Beginning with a 12/8 introduction, the piece features gradually developing rhythms moving through groups of 3, 4 and 5. Pisces – In 5/4 rhythmic grouping is the focus of this short piece. Playing in 4 and then 3 against an underlying 5 beat pulse demands rhythmic consistency from the performer.
Aquarius comes from my Zodiac collection of 12 pieces written in 2006. Performed smoothly here by Melbourne saxophonist Jess Voigt and filmed by Paul Belluzzo. Enjoy the scenery!...