This piece started in a conversation with my friend Joe Rulli—MM in saxophone performance at MU—where we realized the lack of pieces for saxophone quartet with the Latin American culture. Milhaud’s Scaramouche and his exotic third movement is well known but we both think the sax quartet is in need of something similarly colorful but with a newer perspective. With this in mind we started the ambitious project the fill in this gap.
I started then by thinking that we have in Latin America a particular and common duality in our mindsets, in general we all share a cheerful personality and at the same time people live in such shortage of several basic needs. As a paradox my own country was declared the “happiest country in the world,” well, I (and many more) don’t see how it can be so, but I do see that no matter what the population looks towards a better future and lessens the problems just to take a break and be able to live (or survive). The idea of creating a portrait of these emotions came to my mind and I decided to make it in five short parts that are a sonic personal reinterpretation of different influences, impressions, and reflections of the situation afore described. These portraits are uneven because once passed through my filter they were modified and reorganized and because a portrait is always a personal statement of an unequivocal reality.
Three movements are titled Cycles and are inspired on patterns and melodies coming from different popular music form Latin America. Cycles I – A sound of a Night is related to salsa and to nightlife that surrounds this music. Cycles II – A Sound of a Prism is also related to this popular rhythm but also has influences from progressive rock. The rhythms on which Cycles III – A sound of a Mountain is based on can be found in several types of Latin American popular music that utilizes the 6/8 time signature. Victims is an homage to the 5.405.629 victims of the conflict in Colombia (counted from 1985 to 2013 by the government and the magazine Semana, check this link to know more). Absences is related to the emptiness and sadness these victims left behind.
The piece will be premiere by my friends of the Saxophone quartet Elision under the guidance of Mizzou Saxophone instructor Prof. Saguiguit. The performance is part of the 2015 Conference of the Region 4 of the National Saxophone Alliance NASA in Norman, OK. Other premieres and wonderful performances will be held in this event it will be an exciting overdose of saxophone music for my ears!