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Robbie Ellis: Sonatina for ...Embedded video
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This is the second (or third) in what might become or might have already become a sonatina series, following my 2014 Sonatina for violin and piano. The tried-and-true three-movement structure seems to be a goer, so I’ve stuck with it.
The first movement starts with just F. Then it adds Ab, then G, etc etc etc etc. Rhythmically it’s not unlike 1990s John Psathas, with some notes missing and some notes outstaying their welcome. In the second movement I adapted a theme I had improvised during Those Who Can’t, a show at Chicago’s Second City on 20 January 2015 – this music’s feel is a nod to Claude Debussy, one of the most prominent composers to write for the saxophone. The third movement... argh... I shouldn’t even mention it... but... oh well, it’s no use denying what I had in my head. Two words: Benny Hill.
The three movements are tied together by a playful, slightly gawky theme which I had improvised on piano in What If I Told You, a show with Nadine Antler, Ben Hartwig and Norbert Deeg at the Canberra festival Improvention on 24 July 2013.
The creation of this Sonatina for alto saxophone and piano was funded by the Wallace Arts Trust and intended for multiple première performers at multiple première performances: saxophonists Nick Cornish, Yvette Audain, and Reuben Chin; and pianists John Van Buskirk, yours truly, and to be determined.
Written with funding from the Wallace Arts Trust.
I. Weird metronomic funk II. Rubato III. Chickenscratch bluerag
15 Apr 2015: A concert of New Zealand music
19 Apr 2015: A concert of New Zealand music
13 May 2015: Performed by Reuben Chin (saxophone) and Thomas Nikora (piano) at St Andrew's on The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand.
10 Jun 2015: Performed by Airan Wright (saxophone) and Robbie Ellis (piano) at Constellation, Chicago, United States.