126.96.36.199(II=cbsn) - 4.2.2.btrbn.1 - timp - perc(1): glsp/vib/t.bells/splash cym/cyms/susp.cym/ride cym/tgl/sleigh bells/cowbell (high)/tamb/squeaky toy/whip/flexatone/3 wdbl (high, med & sml)/tpl.bl/sandpaper blocks/bongos/hi-hat/SD/BD - strings (86543)
Over the past few decades, Australian composers have fallen in love with the saxophone. There is now a great deal of music for the instrument, and this is unsurprising as the saxophone has great flexibility in approach. In addition, saxophonists tend to be great advocates for new music, given that the instrument is a relatively new addition to the Western music tradition.
In my concerto for soprano saxophone, I have used two main starting points. The first is the notion of orchestral experimentation. In this piece I have used several novel and unusual orchestration combinations and approaches. For example, the end of the slow, second movement uses a series of orchestral ‘cross-fades’, in which the different sections of the orchestra (brass, woodwind, strings) get louder and softer, and blend into or even overtake one another. In other places, I have used rather unusual combinations of instruments, which, when combined with the sound of the soloist, can create surprising aural effects.
The other approach I have used is that of ‘borrowing’. For example, the first movement commences with a series of chords. These chords are in fact taken from single chords from other composers. So they may sound familiar to expert ears, but when contrasted with the soprano saxophone, and in the broader musical context, acquire new meaning and purpose.
Of course, being a concerto, I have deliberately written a piece that shows off the soloist. I first met Amy Dickson many years ago, when she was preparing for her Year 12 music exams. Amy was playing a piece of mine, In Search of Ecstasy, which I wrote in 1994. Even then I knew that she was going to be a superstar of the music world. It has been an absolute joy to write this work for her. I do hope that this joy flows through to the audience today, through the music, and through Amy and the TSO's wonderful playing.
© 2019 Matthew Hindson
Matthew Hindson has dedicated this work to Amy Dickson.
'Unstoppable, the saxophone sings, hums, streaks, twitters, and roars. Carefree and almost playful, Dickinson turns the solo part into an event, supported by the flickering dynamic surges of the orchestra and exciting accents in the percussion.'
Leipziger Volkszeitung (Claudia Helmert), 4 December 2022