Summer-Night Songs (1994, rev. 1997)

for soprano saxophone and harp, 8 minutes

 

Instrumentation: soprano saxophone, harp

also oboe, piano and B-flat clarinet, piano

 

An evocative work which depicts a calm summer night interrupted by a rainstorm. Extended techniques on the harp couple with lyrical and virtuosic saxophone. (Versions for clarinet and oboe with harp, and saxophone, oboe, or clarinet with piano, are also available).

 

Recording: Exhortations (Athena Records), 1998

 

Audio:

Main Theme


Storm

Performers: Robert Faub, soprano saxophone, Jessica Suchy-Pilalis, harp

 

Program Notes:

Summer-Night Songs was originally scored for the unusual but highly colorful ensemble of soprano saxophone and harp (1994, rev. 1997); transcriptions for clarinet and piano, as well as the present version, were made in 2002.  Programmatic in inspiration, Summer-Night Songs evokes the atmosphere of a calm summer evening and a brief but violent rainstorm which interrupts its tranquility.  Coloristic effects on the piano, both on the keyboard and on the strings, create a sonorous backdrop for the saxophone’s lyrical “night-songs," heard in the opening and closing sections of the piece.  The central section depicts a coming rainstorm and its sudden arrival.  Though fierce, it is a brief storm, and as the music clears, a piano cadenza (subtitled “the moon re-appearing through clouds”) leads gently to the closing section, in which the calmer night-song music is heard again.  The music dissipates on a long-held oboe tone and an ascending scale into the extreme high register of the piano.

 

--Andrew Earle Simpson

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