A single movement quartet for saxophone and strings
Adagio - Allegro - Presto
This piece is in one continuous rhapsodic movement, although it falls into two sections: Allegro and Presto, with a slow introduction. The Phrygian mode predominates and the two main section feature rhythms of unequal beats: the first section is predominantly 3 + 3 + 2 whilst the second is predominantly 2 + 2 + 3. The work is all based on one theme, first stated in full in a saxophone solo. Each instrument plays a varied form of this theme in a different key, followed by a return of the saxophone. Episodes based on the pizzicato accompaniment flank the main statements of the theme and split the section up in the middle. The second section is in rondo form with both theme and episodes derived from the main subject in the first section. The middle episode is a virtuosic variation for the saxophone.
In bars 46 - 50 the strings contrast three styles of pizzicato ranging from the 'Bartòk' percussive style, through a slightly less harsh effect produced by ordinary plucking but much nearer the bridge than normal (indicated by staccato dashes), to the soft effect produced by plucking with the finger well down the finger board (indicated by lines). Similar signs are used in the saxophone part to indicate different styles of tonguing ranging from 'slap' tonguing to a very soft tonguing.
This work was first performed on 13 May 1998 by the Whole Sky Quartet at the University of Liverpool. The quartet comprised Tony Davis (Saxophone), Rachel Adam (violin), Tony Shorrocks (viola) and Richard Major (cello).