This quintet for soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones with piano was composed in 1992 at the request of the Syrinx Saxophone Quartet in Amsterdam. The first performance was given in January 1993 at the Concertgebouw. The work combines the composer's passion for 20th century Russian and Spanish music with a liberal form of twelve-tone technique. The quintet contains three movements: Anxiety, Darkness, and Roughness. The first movement, Anxiety, starts out deceptively calm. After that, the piece picks up speed and events increase in dynamic intensity and textural complexity until a climactic return of the beginning. The second movement, Darkness, is mostly static and a little bit of dynamic music: The image of a covered night sky at a lake comes to mind: There is no light, no wind, and no commotion. Every now and then moonlight breaks through a tear in the clouds and it is possible to see the dark silhouettes of the lake's surroundings. The third movement, Roughness, borrows its material from a single gesture in the first movement and expands that gesture harmonically and melodically in a relentless and at times wild dance. Roughness is found in the piece's unpolished harmonies, brisk transitions, loud accents and stomping ostinatos. The movement keeps moving mercilessly along until ended by an upward sound sweep à la Piazzola. A small number of multiphonics can be found in each of the saxophone parts; it has challenging technique and great colors. Duration approximately 22-23 minutes.
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