Opening with a dark and somber set of variations, Double Image exploits the four instruments of the saxophone family. Beautiful, lyrical melodies glide through the second movement as the saxes begin their interplay. The third movement is an exciting romp from beginning to end. Truly a must for the advanced saxophone duo.
Genre: 2 Solo Saxophones with Piano | # of Players: 3
Level: Medium Difficult | Duration: 30:00
2 Solo Saxophones
(Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone)
Double Image was commissioned by Jeff Heisler and Shawn Teichmer, two former saxophone alumni from Central Michigan University. The work is a concerto in three movements that exploits four of the common instruments of the saxophone family as performed by two players. The first movement features the tenor and baritone saxophone, the second, the alto and the tenor saxophone and the third, soprano saxophones.
The movements of the concerto are starkly contrasting. The first movement, Passacaglia Lamento, is a dark, somber and mysterious set of variations on a bass line consisting of chromatic mediant relationships and angular leaps. The solo baritone saxophone begins the thematic bass line and is then joined by the solo tenor saxophone. Variation I begins with keyboard percussion accompanying the horns on the theme with the solo tenor saxophone on cascading scale passages. The solo baritone saxophone joins the tenor on the tail of the theme with added chimes. Preceded by a short transition in the wind ensemble, Variation II is abbreviated and features a dance-like interplay between the two solo saxophones in asymmetrical meter (7/16). Variation III ensues in which the solo saxophones alternate a skeletonized version of the theme in augmentation accompanied by ascending scales in the upper woodwinds. A heavy, ponderous interlude in the brass leads to Variation IV. Variation IV is perhaps the most dark and mysterious section of the movement that features a ghosted half-tone ostinato in the solo saxophones over only the harmony of the passacaglia. The tail of the variation is then played by low brass and woodwinds accompanied by piano and keyboard percussion. A brief brass fanfare leads to Variation V, which is a spirited duet by the solo saxophones alternating between 4/4 and 7/8 meter, with the wind ensemble accompanying on short articulations of the harmonic background. Horns, flutes and eventually trumpets, enter playing the tail of the theme culminating dramatically on four strongly articulated sonorities by the full ensemble with an underlying timpani solo diminishing into a coda using the head of the passacaglia and ending on an unresolved sonority.
Movement II, Reveries, takes advantage of the two most expressive saxophones (in my opinion), the alto and the tenor. The movement is dreamy consisting of beautiful, lyrical melodic lines, extended tertian harmonies and an array of shifting tonality. The movement is in free form and begins with a sort of “sighing” melodic line that cascades downward and scale-wise. Both saxophones freely exchange this motive over shifting tone color. A variation of sorts follows with the solo saxophones exchanging the motive over a static F# minor tonality. An interlude follows in Bb Major, with an interplay between solo oboe and flute utilizing the motive which leads into a new section in A Major beginning with sweeping harp-like passages in the piano. The solo saxophones begin interplay amongst themselves on a contrasting motive consisting of rising and falling scale-based passages. The texture and dynamic of the section increase and rise to a dramatic moment which brings back the original descending motive in E Major. The passage diminishes in volume and segues into E Minor with the solo saxophones engaging in free development accompanied by the marimba and the piano. The development continues with a bubbly, staccato pattern in the clarinets and marimba and a return of the original motive in imitation between the solo saxophones in C Minor. A transition precipitates a change of mode into C Major and the movement concludes in dreamy fashion with the return of the descending motive and a coda beginning in A Major and coming to rest in Gb Major.