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  • Writer's pictureDave

Nightmare || for Saxophone Quartet

Sharing the work Part 5:

This is an excerpt from a saxophone quartet that I wrote in 2012.

This piece takes a lot of inspiration from the music of the video game 'Kingdom Hearts'. In particular the music for 'Hollow Bastion' by Yoko Shimomura. I love the intense mixed meter feel and the serious tone of her music.

Nightmare was the 4th piece of music I had written. I wrote a marimba and piano duet called 'Loom' (withdrawn), a movement of a brass quintet, a film score , and then this saxophone quartet.

I learned quite a lot writing this:

1. Saxophone players are awesome and are really game for anything. They are extraordinarily collaborators.

2. Sometimes the whole piece doesn't work. Most of what went into this quartet is a jumbled mess. In the words of one of my teachers Andy Vores, it is in Parade Form.

Parade Form is when things just kind of happen. They aren't really connected. Just one thing after another.

And I still struggle with this, especially when a work begins to lean on the longer side. The longer you go the more important it becomes for everything to be intentional and connected.

And there is nothing harder to do when you are a younger composer.

3. Sometimes the whole piece doesn't work, but part of it does. This section always stood out to me as the most honest.

Many of the other parts of this piece I wrote were things that I thought would sound more modern and more contemporary. I was trying to write to fit in. Not to be who I am.

Except for this little section.

It always pays to be honest. To push yourself to be your most adventurous self, not creating to fit in with other creators or with what is popular today.

You might be on the outside. You might be on the inside.

But you're the only one who gets to be you.

I wish I had understood that a long time ago. It is still something that I struggle with.

But, I guess that's what the work is for. :)


This is just from a reading with some phenomenal players at UNCSA. Listed in order of highest voice to lowest: Chris Cline, Shawna Pennock, Daniel Aroacho, and Shane Rathburn.


Below is the latest episode of the Sand Dollar, I'd love it if you checked it out :)


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