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Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Band (Chambers)

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Evan Chambers

Evan Chambers


General Info

Year: 2008 / 2010
Duration: c. 12:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Evan Chambers
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Rental   |   Score Only (print) - $60.00


Movements

1. This Is not the Blues – 5:30
2. Little Song for Two Bills – 2:10
3. Heavy Traffic – Looking for Louie – 4:05


Instrumentation

Full Score
Solo Alto Saxophone
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
Tuba I-II
String Bass, amplified (optional)
Piano
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • China Cymbals
  • Cowbell
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Drum Set
  • Flexatone
  • Repinque (or small timbale)
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Timbales, medium
  • Triangle, iron (Cajun)
  • Vibraphone
  • Vibra-slap
  • Washtub
  • Wood Blocks (2)
  • Xylophone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

When I lived for a year in Austria after college, I found to my surprise that I was in demand as a blues singer at parties. I had never sung the blues before that time, and had no especial right to do so except for the sorrowful ache I felt in my gut at nearly all times. I was not raised on the blues, could not play the blues on guitar or on my viola, and had almost no experience as a vocalist. I was just a white boy from Ohio and somehow I stumbled onto the fact of my Americanness in a foreign land. While I was in Eastern Europe, I made up spontaneous blues rants for my fellow students (who were also white privileged Northerners). The songs had titles like Suburban Intellectual Blues, Castration Blues, and even a rather more earnest East Berlin Blues after we saw a young man who had befriended us carted away by the secret police. All I can say was that, to paraphrase the great John Lee Hooker: it was in me, and it had to come out.

I have never sung the blues in public since, and probably what I was doing then didn’t count as anything but a kind of culturally dislocated caricature that we conjured up to feel more strongly how out of place we were. I think we needed to remind ourselves of how very dissonant our own memorized subcutaneous cultural encoding was with our immediate surroundings. There is the famous Sonny Terry/Brownie McGee song, White Boy Lost in the Blues, and I certainly was. Lost. Lonely. Certainly unschooled in the blues, and incapable of any claims of authenticity. But I also found the ability to lose myself in the performance, to become so steeped in strong feeling that the sounds just took me over and I didn’t have to be with myself anymore. I could just be a voice, pouring out the shame and hurt and bafflement of a foreigner who doesn’t fit in, can’t speak the language, and doesn’t know the rules. It was liberating to let go, let some humor creep in, and open up wide. Urgency times sweat plus irony over pain equals…

So this piece is not the blues. It carries some of the markers of my experience with that music, and breaks into frequent approximate style-quotes. This piece is more like the painting of a pipe by Magritte, which is labeled “Cest ne pas un pipe.” This is just some music that tries to tap some of the energy generated from those goofy, angry, drunken moments of outpouring I experienced so many years ago.

The second movement, Little Song for Two Bills is dedicated to Bill Albright and Bill Bolcom, who at one time were great friends, and were both colleagues and mentors of mine. The final movement gets two titles: starting out with Heavy Traffic and ending with an all-out tribute to the great Louie Prima.

Thanks go to Marcin Bela, who gets a tip of the hat in the New Orleans section of the first movement. The piece was written for Wayne Tice and the USMA Band.

- Program Note by composer


Commercial Discography


Media


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

  • Chambers, E. (2008). Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Band: 2008 [score]. Evan Chambers: {United States].
  • Evan Chambers, personal correspondence, May 2020
  • Evan Chambers website Accessed 18 May 2020