Saxophone Quartet #1
for Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone saxophones (2006/7)
by Ron Hannah

Duration: about 13 minutes

    I have led such a cosmopolitan life lately. In Daylesford, Australia, in March of 2006, I heard a German saxophone quartet called 'Saxofourte', and was knocked out of my chair! They, four young men, came out onto the stage without any music and proceeded to entertain and amaze for the next 2 hours. They played traditional and avant-garde stuff,

 Download the Score 

sometimes rising and facing one another if they happened to be playing related themes, and generally interacting in ways that gave the audience a visual appreciation of the formal structure of each piece. I thought it worked brilliantly and immediately decided to write something for them. It has taken a year, but here it is. Sadly, they don't know about it because their website has not been maintained and I cannot contact them - I don't even know if they are still together.

    Another problem was that my partner Ruth and I were living in a camper van and travelling across Australia at the time, not the easiest situation in which to compose music. We planned to continue our travels as well, indefinitely, so I had to improvise (pardon the pun). I simplified things for myself as we traversed Indonesia and Malaysia (after selling the van in Australia), using the time-honoured technique of self-plagiarism. The Second movement is a re-working of the gorgeous (I say that without the slightest modesty) slow movement from my String Quartet #1; and the finale is a distillation of a small section of my incomplete Cantata for a Beloved Planet, an instrumental portion called 'Spinifex Scherzo', spinifex being the tough native grass of Australia that looks so playful until you get closer. The opening fugue is really the only original material in this piece, and as it turns out all the movements are highly contrapuntal - two fugues and a double canon. I should have made some reference to that in the title. I finally completed it in Guatemala where I am living at the time of this writing. It awaits an enthusiastic performance.

    The score in C is available by clicking on the "Go" button above, or through the Canadian Music Centre, as is a complete transposed score and set of parts. I ask on every page of this site to be informed of any performances. Could you please send me details should you decide to perform this work, so that I may keep my website up-to-date?