for soprano saxophone and harp, 8 minutes
Instrumentation: soprano saxophone, harp
also oboe, piano and B-flat clarinet, piano
An evocative work which depicts a calm summer night interrupted by a rainstorm. Extended techniques on the harp couple with lyrical and virtuosic saxophone. (Versions for clarinet and oboe with harp, and saxophone, oboe, or clarinet with piano, are also available).
Recording: Exhortations (Athena Records), 1998
Performers: Robert Faub, soprano saxophone, Jessica Suchy-Pilalis, harp
Summer-Night Songs was originally scored for the unusual but highly colorful ensemble of soprano saxophone and harp (1994, rev. 1997); transcriptions for clarinet and piano, as well as the present version, were made in 2002. Programmatic in inspiration, Summer-Night Songs evokes the atmosphere of a calm summer evening and a brief but violent rainstorm which interrupts its tranquility. Coloristic effects on the piano, both on the keyboard and on the strings, create a sonorous backdrop for the saxophone’s lyrical “night-songs," heard in the opening and closing sections of the piece. The central section depicts a coming rainstorm and its sudden arrival. Though fierce, it is a brief storm, and as the music clears, a piano cadenza (subtitled “the moon re-appearing through clouds”) leads gently to the closing section, in which the calmer night-song music is heard again. The music dissipates on a long-held oboe tone and an ascending scale into the extreme high register of the piano.
--Andrew Earle Simpson