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Saxophone Quartet No. 2

ItoMusic/ Brain
Trouvere Quartet
Premiered on 13 January 1991, by Trouvère Quartet
Sample Score

For Saxophone Quartet

Soprano Saxophone in Bb
Alto Saxophones in Eb
Tenor Saxophone in Bb
Baritone Saxophone in Eb

Suite includes:

1.Allegro molto

2.Adagio(for Baritone Saxophone)

3.Moderate (for Tenr Saxophone)

4.Alleretto(for Soprano Saxophone)

5.Lento(for Alto Saxophone)

6.Allegro molto

Notes from composer
Composed in 30 Dec 1990. Commisioned by Trouvere Quartet

Following a visit to Egypt in 1988, I started developing an interest in “microtones”, something that are often found in ethnic music.

Although it is commonplace for microtones to exist in their respective ethnic music, they appear to sound distorted from the Western musical perspective. The 3rd and 4th movements of this piece were composed with such “microtones”, and feature improvisational performance done in heterophony.

It is almost safe to say that in music from various ethnicities, the perfect fifth interval exists as a common element. In the seven-note scale of Thai music, there is a strong foundation for the perfect fifth can be heard. As such, the temperament in the 2nd and 4th movements of this piece can be said to be close to that of Thai music.

The notes are divided equivalently into five between the C and G of Western scale, resulting in a sound that constitutes to neither a major, nor a minor scale. The notes ascending from G to C are divided into four equivalents, seemingly with a leading note, or rather similar to the sound in the Mixolydian mode.

On the musical score, pitch deviations are given in cents (a semitone is 100 cents). In addition, quarter tones, which are half of a semitone, are also used, most notably as clusters in the beginning of this piece and can be evidently heard throughout.

Similar to Saxophone Quartet No.1, this piece also consists of a relatively short first movement and last movement. From the 2nd to the 5th movement, each movement is built for the baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, and alto saxophone respectively, featuring the characteristics and performing techniques unique to each of those instruments.

Saxophone Quartets No. 1 and 2, both share the focus of maintaining traditional elements while challenging to break away from tradition, and even aimed to incorporate some Japanese elements as well. A similar composition would be my Symphony for wind band composed in 1990.

I express my utmost gratitude to Quartet Hayate for performing these pieces, brimming with youthful desire and enthusiasm on this occasion of significant importance to myself.

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