Quadramorphoses – Saxophone Quartet No.2

“*Quadramorphoses” explores transformations new to old, frenetic to calm. The dichotomy of furious attack and calm echo plays out in its various guises, starting with the first bar. Throughout the piece the new, a twelve-bar-blues, rubs up against the old, La Folia—the proverbial twelve-bar-blues of yesteryear. Toward the end of the piece I finally superimpose the blues over the folia—although the blues is in 4/4 and the folia is in 3/4 these two progressions share an even number of total beats. I then “add” the harmonies of these two progressions and use the resulting chords to support a series of written-out improvisations that blur the boundaries between these two progressions. The improvisations function as an additional harmonic-thematic “lubricant” between the different sound worlds, gradually smoothing out the frenetic-calm dichotomy and morphing from the twelve-bar-blues into the Folia chord progression. Once this transition is complete there is a return to the original theme but the Folia’s influence has taken over. A brief codetta revisits the opening theme. Repose and nostalgia settle in as we hear the final echoes of the past made anew.

~Curtis Nathaniel Smith

*Early recordings and readings of parts of this work were performed and recorded in 2014 under the title “Echoes.” The original composition was never performed in its entirety and since 2014 the piece has been significantly re-worked into its current state. (Feb. 2015)

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