Concerto for Baritone Saxophone

I’m very excited to share the premiere performance of my Concerto for Baritone Saxophone, performed by Taylor Huitema and Zhao Wang! A sincere thank you to Taylor and the 31 consortium members who commissioned this piece. It was such a pleasure to write so extensively for one of my favorite instruments. The piece is now available for purchase through Murphy Music Press!

Program Notes:

Concerto for Baritone Saxophone is a three movement neoclassical work written in 2018. The three movements utilize traditional classical forms: the sonata, rounded binary, and rondo forms, respectively, and feature harmonies and melodic phrases similarly indicative of the classical era. The piece shows off the versatility and different personalities of the baritone saxophone, from mellow and pure lyricism to powerful and commanding aggression. The piece also explores the baritone saxophone’s different registers, employing a range from the lowest note on the instrument to the upper echelon of the altissimo register.

Though the piece is divided into three movements, several motives, themes, and harmonic progressions reappear throughout. The piece contains two five-note motifs that are introduced in succession as the baritone saxophone’s first statement of the opening cadenza. The first motif is an ascending arpeggio and the second motif is a step-wise mordent centering around one note. These motifs are used both melodically and accompanimentally and are applied to the various contexts of the different movements. The piece also features a principal harmonic progression, from the tonic (I or i) triad to the submediant (vi or VI) triad. This progression is similarly manipulated to fit different musical contexts and is used to create non-diatonic harmonies, bitonal polychords, and even dictate tonal centers of larger sections of the piece as a whole.

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