In Thomas Pynchon’s famous novel Gravity’s Rainbow musical modernism is succinctly described as “an expansion of music’s polymorphous perversity till all the notes were truly equal at last.”
This compilation of new music for saxophone illustrates that the same can be said for the expansion of tone colors and extended techniques, which composers have devised to reject, or re-envision, the saxophone’s conventional roles of mellow crooner, exotic beckoner, and improvisatory wizard.
The works on this recording are representative of the captivating journeys that recent musical compositions take through time and space, whether they are subjective or objective; spiritual or secular; tangible or abstract. The saxophone’s capacity for virtuosic display and coloristic versatility has made it attractive to a multitude of living composers. The instrument is also acquiring an ever-expanding repertoire of works originally composed for other woodwind instruments, as evidenced here by Jeffrey Heisler’s masterful transcriptions of works by Chen Yi and Steve Reich.