Title

Surgery: Tone Poem for Saxophone Quartet in Three Movements

Lead Author Major

Music

Format

Composer's Club Concerts

Faculty Mentor Department

Music

Abstract/Artist Statement

“Surgery” a Tone Poem in Three Movements for Saxophone Quartet is my artistic testament to the transformative surgery I underwent on January 27th of this year. Each movement is a reflection upon my feelings on that day and how those feelings progressed, coupled with the incorporation of three-and-a-half -- the duration, in hours, of my operation-- into each major element of the composition. The first movement, “Anesthesia” is slow and trance like. It is driven by a solo alto saxophone calling out with a confident but harmonically unstable perfect fifth that grows in register and volume as the piece progresses; the unsure serenity I felt as I awaited anesthesia. It is answered by a three- fold developing melody that grows in orchestration with each of its three statements; its harmonic instability invokes the worry of something going wrong with the procedure. After an unsure resolution to A major, it goes into a development section driven by an alto saxophone solo accompanied by a thick polytonal texture with incomplete, ascending thirds in the soprano; the anesthetic gas muddling my thoughts and putting me to sleep. A sleep that is signified by are solution to A major that foreshadows the harmonic destination of the piece. The second movement, “Ascent Through the Fog” grows from the tempo of movement I but in 9/8 that develops into a fast and lively, consistently bitonal (vertical minor and major) scherzando. This movement depicts what I imagine the process of my surgery was with its tremendous toll on my body that served a reparative and necessary purpose, and coming to the edge of wakefulness from the anesthetic. Its melodic lines come from rapid, ascending minor thirds that shift into major thirds by the end of the movement, and its harmony comes from this cycle of keys: A-D- C#-F#- C- A which are related by three-and- a- half from the major and minor third with tension coming from the tritone. Underscoring and thickening the texture is an ostinato that covers 3-and- a- third of each bar (for the sake of more even division). It culminates with a slow statement of the theme in a solo tenor saxophone in the key of A major that is joined by the baritone saxophone. There is a brief pause before it resolves to an A split-third chord in first inversion, a moment of instability before the calm and contentment of finale. The finale movement, “Awakening”, is an open and stable chorale that is entirely tonal and referential to A major that is performed in the tempo of the final section of movement II. Its melodies are in trading solos between the soprano and alto saxophones that are set to the rhythms of a poem I wrote that reflected upon this procedure. The rhythm of the tenor and baritone saxophones are the rhythms of the developing melody from movement I in four- times augmentation. The two soloists are unified in the final phrase of the piece and confidently resolve to four octaves of A throughout the quartet. This chorale invokes the indescribable joy and serenity I felt upon waking up after my operation. The pain did not matter, the exhaustion did not matter, the daunting recovery did not matter. I had finally become whole and functional and I could know no greater contentment.

Location

Faye Spanos Concert Hall

Start Date

29-4-2015 7:30 PM

End Date

29-4-2015 9:30 PM

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Apr 29th, 7:30 PM Apr 29th, 9:30 PM

Surgery: Tone Poem for Saxophone Quartet in Three Movements

Faye Spanos Concert Hall

“Surgery” a Tone Poem in Three Movements for Saxophone Quartet is my artistic testament to the transformative surgery I underwent on January 27th of this year. Each movement is a reflection upon my feelings on that day and how those feelings progressed, coupled with the incorporation of three-and-a-half -- the duration, in hours, of my operation-- into each major element of the composition. The first movement, “Anesthesia” is slow and trance like. It is driven by a solo alto saxophone calling out with a confident but harmonically unstable perfect fifth that grows in register and volume as the piece progresses; the unsure serenity I felt as I awaited anesthesia. It is answered by a three- fold developing melody that grows in orchestration with each of its three statements; its harmonic instability invokes the worry of something going wrong with the procedure. After an unsure resolution to A major, it goes into a development section driven by an alto saxophone solo accompanied by a thick polytonal texture with incomplete, ascending thirds in the soprano; the anesthetic gas muddling my thoughts and putting me to sleep. A sleep that is signified by are solution to A major that foreshadows the harmonic destination of the piece. The second movement, “Ascent Through the Fog” grows from the tempo of movement I but in 9/8 that develops into a fast and lively, consistently bitonal (vertical minor and major) scherzando. This movement depicts what I imagine the process of my surgery was with its tremendous toll on my body that served a reparative and necessary purpose, and coming to the edge of wakefulness from the anesthetic. Its melodic lines come from rapid, ascending minor thirds that shift into major thirds by the end of the movement, and its harmony comes from this cycle of keys: A-D- C#-F#- C- A which are related by three-and- a- half from the major and minor third with tension coming from the tritone. Underscoring and thickening the texture is an ostinato that covers 3-and- a- third of each bar (for the sake of more even division). It culminates with a slow statement of the theme in a solo tenor saxophone in the key of A major that is joined by the baritone saxophone. There is a brief pause before it resolves to an A split-third chord in first inversion, a moment of instability before the calm and contentment of finale. The finale movement, “Awakening”, is an open and stable chorale that is entirely tonal and referential to A major that is performed in the tempo of the final section of movement II. Its melodies are in trading solos between the soprano and alto saxophones that are set to the rhythms of a poem I wrote that reflected upon this procedure. The rhythm of the tenor and baritone saxophones are the rhythms of the developing melody from movement I in four- times augmentation. The two soloists are unified in the final phrase of the piece and confidently resolve to four octaves of A throughout the quartet. This chorale invokes the indescribable joy and serenity I felt upon waking up after my operation. The pain did not matter, the exhaustion did not matter, the daunting recovery did not matter. I had finally become whole and functional and I could know no greater contentment.