Transition – Piano Reduction Release

September 25th, 2012

I know that at least a few people have been anxiously waiting for me to finish the piano reduction for my alto saxophone concerto, Transition. This is an officially announcement to say that I have now officially included the piano reduction in both versions of the Transition download. For more details, please visit the Transition page for more details.


Flute Solo – Consider the Lilies

May 30th, 2012

Writing this flute solo was the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity of facing the challenge of writing something that needed to be played by someone new to an instrument (Lily had been studying flute for about two years). This forced me to figure out ways to create sounds that were easily produced but were still new and interesting. What made the process much easier was the fact that Lily was already able to have a strong and full sound on the lower register of the flute (quite an accomplishment for her short time studying the instrument). So I focused on bringing out the contrast between the different registers while also creating complex harmonic implications to draw as much attention as possible to every sound being made throughout each line. This process yielded the opening melody, which reminded me of wind gently blowing across a field of flowers. Between that and Lily’s name, Matthew 6:28-30 (NIV) immediatly came to mind:

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

So I then wrote the rest of the flute solo based on the emotional process a person might go through when hearing Jesus’ words during a difficult time in life.

On Memorial Day, May 28, 2012, my wife’s high school flute student, Lily, premiered this flute solo. This premier performance can be viewed below:

Nothing I write is ever easy and this piece is no exception. Lily did a fantastic job of rising to the occasion! Hats of to her and my wife for working so hard in pulling it off so decisively!

Download score (PDF) $2.49
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While originally being written as a flute solo, Consider the Lilies (not so coincidentally) works very nicely for the alto saxophone as well! I’ve included a preview of the score in the sample below as well.

Download score (PDF) $2.49
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What Wondrous Love Is This? – Solo Saxophone

April 3rd, 2012

My arrangement of What Wondrous Love Is This? for solo saxophone opens with a clear and unembellished statement of the melody. This is then followed by a short theme which I’ve designed to represent the overwhelming joy that Christians have in response to the wondrous love being depicted in the text. This theme is reiterated after every statement of the melodic material, and the arrangement culminates with the full version of the theme as high in pitch and volume of which each instrument is comfortably capable. The arrangement ends with another simple statement of the melody but with a repetitive and embellished ending that focuses on the text, “And through eternity, I’ll sing on.”

Download score (PDF) ($2.99)
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Below is the text I kept in my mind as I wrote this saxophone solo:

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.


Alto Saxophone Solo – Psalm 51

February 17th, 2012

This alto saxophone solo is a musical depiction of Psalm 51; a biblical text describing David’s sorrow over his sin. Using a concert A drone (from any source you want) to create harmonic tension and release throughout the solo, the music follows the same emotional path that the psalm does. It begins in lament and brokenness and slowly moves towards repentance, and restoration.

Download Score (PDF) ($2.99)
Download Recording (mp3) ($0.59)
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Below is the text off of which this alto saxophone solo is based:

Have mercy on me, O God,
   according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
   blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
   and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
   and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
   and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
   and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
   sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
   you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
   wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
   let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
   and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
   and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
   or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
   and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
   so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
   you who are God my Savior,
   and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord,
   and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
   you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
   a broken and contrite heart
   you, God, will not despise.

May it please you to prosper Zion,
   to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
   in burnt offerings offered whole;
   then bulls will be offered on your altar.

-Psalm 51 (NIV)

Discovery

November 8th, 2011

This video is only a sample of the work.

Download Score and Parts (PDF) (11.99)
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Download includes both versions of the piece; with euphonium or with tenor saxophone. The euphonium part will also work well on cello.

Sample score and parts

Instrumentation: Violin, Euphonium (or Cello or Tenor Saxophone), and Piano

Duration 7:00

Movement I, Ambition

Movement II, Disappointment

Movement III, Moving Forward

Performance notes: This is a piece written both for children and about children. Any fun ideas to incorporate into your performance accordingly is perfectly appropriate and encouraged. For example, the premier of this work incorporated a painting demonstration. While this work is written for an unusual combination of instruments, the euphonium part can be easily played on cello. There is nothing particularly challenging about this work that I can see, although because of the precision in intonation that is required for a great performance, I would recommend this for at least first or second year collegiate musicians. However, this should not discourage a solid high school group from attempting it.

Background information: My friend Tiffany (violin) organized and premiered this work in the fall of 2009 for a recital she designed specifically for children. Despite it’s purpose, adults should of course feel free to enjoy the work just as much as children in the same way that adults tend to enjoy movies that are meant for children.

Musical Interpretation: Children are very curious human beings and sometimes are so to the point that they get themselves into trouble. This piece depicts the process that a child goes through when they decide to pursue something that they are really not supposed to for reasons that they are unaware of. It starts with Ambition driving them towards finding out what they want to know despite formal sanctions from their authorities. Then the time comes when they discover what they were looking for, and either discipline or physical discomfort comes from their ambition resulting in Disappointment. This emotion seems to always resolve in them well before it should taking into account the sorrow they seem to display, which is why I made the second movement as short as I possibly could. As the child is Moving Forward they seem to forget all about the entire incident of their lesson. They go on just as they always did, but through observation we can clearly see that their experience has somehow changed their behavior.

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