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Spectrum (for SATB Sax Quartet)


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Second time posting here! The reception the first time around was quite warm, and I feel like I'm finding a community here!

This piece was originally supposed to be 6 movements, (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet), but in interest of time, I only finished the primary color movements (Red, Yellow, and Blue). The grand concept was to create lots of motivic material in the primary color movements to, and blend them together to make secondary color movements (I.e: Red and Blue motifs make Violets content).

I did not transpose it as of right now, and I send this off to a few colleges of mine for portfolio submissions which I hope is not a red flag.

Here it goes!

Spectrum.pdf

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Hello,

I really liked listening to these pieces. They're well crafted and keep my interest. Also, there's great writing for the saxophone - do you play the instrument? If not, what made you choose this combination? It works well.

On 12/4/2020 at 3:55 AM, RyanMcRainbow said:

The grand concept was to create lots of motivic material in the primary color movements to, and blend them together to make secondary color movements (I.e: Red and Blue motifs make Violets content).

That's a great idea!

Right, on to some feedback.

 

Red:

It's very busy - there's a lot happening! It makes it very intense and dramatic. A couple of thoughts: I question how easy those jumps are on the Bari part in Bars 21-26. Also the very long loud note following might by a bit of an issue (I don't know, I'm not a sax player!)

The main thing is, I just feel that it is perhaps a little too short, especially as an opening movement. By the time the listener has got used to the sound world, the piece has finished! A second subject or B section could help with this - the mood doesn't have to change, but some new material or texture could be interesting. The tenor and baritone didn't really get melodic roles in this, so that could be an idea for a different section.

 

Yellow:

A very dry joke! The style is not one that I usually write/listen to, but I think you pull it off well. The use of the bottom of the soprano's range is effective. I'm glad that the texture is lighter in this one so that not all instruments are playing at the same time. However, I still feel that the baritone could have a more melodic part to make this a true quartet. It is very brash (excellent "dry" atmosphere) but I think you could have some more moments of relative consonance/tonality, like you do in Bar 46-47 (doesn't have to be boring or plain with effective use of added tone chords!)

 

Blue:

Wow, this is really beautiful with a great passionate middle section. I think about this the opposite to Red - you could have taken longer over the beginning and the end. The quintal opening is really sparse and beautiful, reminding me of Glass or Fitkin. I liked that the baritone got the melody for this, and I think it could have lasted longer before the other instruments got more excited. The end felt rather abrupt, maybe taking some more time to calm things down would help. The middle section has some lovely colourful chords

 

 

Overall comments: really excellent piece. I could have wished for the baritone part to have some more melodies. I'd love to hear the other movements, if and when you get round to writing them!

aMC

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