Gregory Wanamaker, Night Set for Soprano Saxophone and Piano

Dr. Stephen Page, Associate Professor of Saxophone
Dr. Alex Maynegre, Piano

The University of Texas at Austin
Butler School of Music

Night Set is a work for soprano saxophone and piano in three movements representing nocturnal images, sounds, and situations:

1. Night Sparks presents a sonic impression of the gradual and sometimes unpredictably sudden appearance of light against a dark environment through a combination of pointillistic and contrapuntal textures.

2. Night Song is a very slow and placid lullaby, perhaps, alternating a sustained and spacious melody with soft interjections in the piano.

3. Night Ride, in virtually perpetual motion, is the impression of a fast, round-trip ride out of a congested city-scape into a open, empty space, allowing the driver to press pedal to the metal for longer durations, only to return home. The impression of light against darkness returns in this movement through the use of quickly alternating registers in the saxophone against a rhythmically constant piano texture.

Despite their contrasting textural and impressionistic natures, the three movements are unified motivically, harmonically, and structurally.

Night Set was commissioned by an international consortium of twenty-two saxophonists. The work is approximately 12’30’’ in duration, and was completed on December 15, 2017 in Potsdam, NY.

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