Subtitle: Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Wind Ensemble
1. Youthful Adventures
2. Idyllic Chronicles
3. Blazing Spectacles
Solo Soprano Saxophone
OFFSTAGE Solo Flute --OR-- B-Flat Clarinet (II. only)
Bassoon I-II-III (III doubles Contrabassoon)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
C Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Harp (optional; II. only)
- Bass Drum, small
- Bongos (2)
- Brake Drum (or Anvil)
- China Cymbal
- Crash Cymbal
- Crash Cymbals
- Field Drum
- Snare Drum
- Snare Drum, small
- Splash Cymbal
- Suspended Cymbal
- Tam-Tam, large
- Tom-Toms (4)
- Wood Blocks (2)
None discovered thus far.
Jordan VanHemert and I first worked together when we were both part of a concert of new music for saxophone quartet. His piece, an entirely improvisational work, utterly astounded me. Over time, I eventually began to discover just how fantastic he is as an artist and human being, with an extensive background in both the classical and jazz worlds that I greatly admire. When Jordan approached me about the possibility of collaborating on a new project together, this wonderful opportunity came during an extremely turbulent period in my life where it felt as if everything was changing and yet nothing had changed all at the same time. The more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me that this mirrored what I was continuing to explore in my more recent music -- change over time, especially in how nature evolves. I couldn't ignore that strange coincidence no matter how hard I tried, and I knew that I needed to collaborate with Jordan on this piece. In the end, all of this led to the formation of the ideas that inspired this soprano saxophone concerto.
Summertime Echoes is a broad and somewhat picturesque depiction of human nature, specifically in its portrayal of the various adventures, thrills, and journeys that one could experience during the summer holidays, whether alone or with friends and loved ones. In this regard, the concerto serves as a more broad and open-ended depiction of summer as a whole. The soprano saxophone is showcased as the quintessential storyteller -- the third-person, omniscient narrator -- while the wind ensemble becomes the full musical depiction of each of these experiences. The soloist is also given several moments of pure improvisation as a nod to Jordan's background in jazz to add their own personal reflection upon these ideas.
Each of the three movements explores another topic in particular -- the dichotomy between the good and bad memories that one might endure throughout their summer holidays. This season in particular can be especially effortless to romanticize in its various forms -- while there are so many joyful and fruitful adventures and thrills that can be gained from these moments, life is simply not like this all of the time. I strove to capture the heart of this dichotomy as much as possible when writing this concerto -- this, to me, defined a more realistic viewpoint of life as a whole, especially in how one can learn and grow from all of their experiences.
The three movements comprising Summertime Echoes are as follows:
I. Youthful Adventures - This relatively short movement takes flight in its quest for new adventures and thrills, whether those result in fulfilling experiences or become more dangerous than expected. The soprano saxophone soars and sings with the momentum this music carries, all the while adding short bursts of uncertainty for the more unpredictable moments this movement provides.
II. Idyllic Chronicles - The title for this movement is a misnomer in a sense. "Idyll" is defined as a picturesque, idealized, romanticized aspect of storytelling that may not necessarily lend itself to truth, yet "chronicle" is defined as an exact written account of what actually happened. So, where's the truth here? This movement explores that truth through the friendships and relationships that can potentially be made or continued over one's summer vacation experience. Are these truly fulfilled? Or is there something else beyond the surface? Do these continue into the fall and onward? Or do they end before or when summer ends? This movement can only offer one such exploration of these rhetorical questions and is ultimately left hanging in a sense. While the soprano saxophone's most lyrical and heartbreakingly beautiful qualities are expressed here, the movement as a whole ends with the memories of such companionships beginning to slowly fade away, far off into the distance.
III. Blazing Spectacles - This wild and mostly technical finale lends itself to a fascination of sparks and spectacles as summertime can often do, whether that's coming from fireworks or the embers of a camp bonfire. Beautiful and alluring, yes, but also dangerous. The soprano saxophone's most experimental qualities are explored here, including two chaotic and percussive bursts of free-for-all improvisation. A thrilling conclusion to a whirlwind summer vacation.
My sincerest and deepest thanks and appreciation goes to Jordan for trusting me with this concerto and for the incredible opportunity of being able to write this piece for him. I have become a better composer, and a better human being, from our fantastic collaborative process. My sincerest thanks as well to all of the ensembles and saxophonists who made the consortium for Summertime Echoes possible.
- program note by composer
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Plainwell High School Wind Ensemble (Plainwell, Michigan) (David Hepinstall, conductor; Jordan VanHemert, soloist) - 12 May 2020
- West Ottawa High School Symphony Band (Holland, Michigan) (Mike Hamann, conductor; Jordan VanHemert, soloist) - 26 March 2020
- Clarkston High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Clarkston, Michigan) (Michael Lewis, conductor; Jordan VanHemert, soprano saxophone) - 23 January 2020
- Hope College Wind Ensemble (Holland, Mich.) (Gabe Southard, conductor; Jordan VanHemert, soprano saxophone) - 22 November 2019 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Anthem for Doomed Youth (2018)
- Celestial Voyage (2015)
- Concerto for Double Bass and Chamber Ensemble (2018)
- The Michigan Tryptych
- Midnight Skyline (2019)
- Nature's Light (2019)
- Summertime Echoes (2019)
- The Undiscovered Country (2018)