Premiered on November 21, 2017, by Russell Kerns, soloist, and The Saratoga High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Michael Boitz and Jason Shiuan, Conductors.
SOLO Alto Saxophone +
ensemble 1 (bright): picc., 2 flutes, oboe, 2 Bb clarinets, trumpet, 2 french horns, bassoon, tbn, tuba, piano
mallets: (xylophone, glock, crotales + bongos, wind chimes)
percussion: snare drum, triangle, claves, bongos, sus cymb., 3 toms, tambourine, 3 wood blocks (hi-mid-low) cowbell, flexatone, bell tree, sandblocks, cymb. a2
ensemble 2 (mellow): 2 flutes, 2 Bb clarinets, alto sax, 2 french horns, 2 Bb flugelhorns, euphonium, tuba, harp, marimba (5 octave) timpani
percussion: sandblocks, triangle, bass drum, sus cymb., cajon, vibraslap, timbales, low toms, claves
ensemble 3 (jazz): alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, 3 Bb trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone double bass, vibraphone
percussion: snare drum, tambourine, sus cymb., temple blocks, splash cymb, wax paper (on snare drum)sandblocks, triangle, bass drum, sus cymb., cajon, vibraslap, timbales, low toms, claves
Program notes – from the composer:
Möbius Trip – a concerto for alto saxophone and wind ensemble – is the result of experimenting with the variations of both a theme and its obligato simultaneously. In this case, the obligato is presented first, in free-form from the offstage solo saxophone, and receives various permutations as the first 6 variations are presented. The theme makes its way with increasing visibility, until finally, it is presented most directly
in the middle of the piece (correspondingly, with the middle ensemble). In the subsequent 6 variations, the theme gets its metamorphoses, but then the obligato starts to make its way back into the picture. It is this constant awareness of two sides (obligato and theme) of a (Möbius) strip that give this piece its title. Furthermore, the piece is a journey, or “Trip”, as we travel from F minor to a final F Major, yet almost ending up just where we began.
In a further exploration – this time of sounds and ensemble placement – the piece also uses three different ensembles to accompany the soloist. These consist of (from left to right) “bright”, “mellow”, and “jazz”. These sound-worlds were used to inspire different collaborative writing between soloist and each ensemble. Furthermore, the tessituras were also exploited, resulting in some sections with soloist and high instruments, or, of course, the other extreme.
More than anything, Möbius Trip is a vehicle by which to allow the alto saxophone to display both lyrical and technical capabilities, and hopefully in a setting that is rewarding and enjoyable for all involved.
Jim Stephenson – September 30, 2017
I would like to thank Russell Kerns, for approaching me to do this work, and his dedication in securing the following groups who added their support:
The Saratoga High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Michael Boitz and Jason Shiuan, Conductors.
John Adam Briggs
California Poly Technical Institute Wind Ensemble
Casco Bay Wind Symphony; Trae Blanco, director
Todd Goranson (Messiah College)
Interlochen Arts Academy; Dr. Matthew Schlomer, director
Dr. Timothy McAllister
Chee Meng Low, University of Lethbridge
Gerard Morris, University of Puget Sound
Stephen James Parker
The Philadelphia Wind Symphony
Shenandoah Wind Ensemble; Timothy J. Robblee, director
Idit Shner (University of Oregon)
La Sierra University Wind Ensemble; Giovanni Santos, director; Andrew Harrison, saxophonist Scott Teeple, UW Madison
Dale Underwood (University of Miami)
University of Arkansas; Eric S. Troiano, Professor of saxophone
Lois Hicks-Wozniak, The New Jersey Wind Symphony