(2019) sonata in five movements for alto saxophone and piano
Premiere performance by Adam McCord (saxophone) and Krista Wallace-Boaz (piano)
M O V E was composed for saxophonist Adam McCord and pianist Krista Wallace-Boaz, my colleagues at the University of Louisville School of Music. I’ve long admired their wonderful performances and was delighted to have the opportunity to compose for them. M O V E is not an easy piece because these are exceptional performers.
While composing M O V E in the summer of 2019, I found myself reflecting on my musical language(s) and style(s) and how they’ve changed over the years. About fifteen years earlier, I had made a decision to try to find musical expressions that were more direct, more purposely emotive. I wanted to find a way to express more positive emotions and fewer negative ones.
Creating music that expresses positivity is not simple or easy in my opinion, for reasons that are too complex and diverse to discuss at length here. Still, however difficult the goal, the attempt is worth it to me.
M O V E shares this goal with the twist that its movement titles reflect physical movements: motions rather than emotions. A feeling of movement has always played a role in my composing, and dance seems to be a particularly strong undercurrent in my compositional thinking. In my twenties, I worked as a modern dance accompanist for about thirty hours a week for three years. That’s a lot of dance classes and a lot of improvisation…about 3000 hours!
The five movements of M O V E are fast, slow, fast, slow, and fast. The interior slow movements share some common materials and a similar aesthetic. The three fast movements share common goals of energy and virtuosity.