July 29, 2018

Goliath in Zagreb

When Dr. Jackie Lamar asked me to write a piece for the Arkansas Saxophones to premiere at the 2018 World Saxophone Congress, I instantly hopped on board and straightaway began to compose with great procrastination.

One should never be too hasty. At least, that's what my good friend, Treebeard, always says.

I spent most of my career as a saxophonist playing bari in various ensembles, and I always like to give the bari player something interesting when I write for saxophones. Very soon, the idea that this piece would retell the epic of David and Goliath was firmly planted in my mind, right next to some rather neglected Azaleas.

For those of you who may be less familiar with the various flavors of saxophone, the bari (short for baritone) sax is one of the bigger ones. It's the one that looks like part of it got caught in a pretzel-twister, and it has a pretty low sound. If saxophones had strings, the bari would be a cello.

Fortunately... they don't.

Anyway, the bari player takes up the role of the Phillistine giant, Goliath, in this tune. He's a cocky loudmouth who spends most of his time strutting around like he's king of the world. And so is Goliath.

;) In reality, the guy playing bari is Andy Wright, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better human than him. And he certainly knows his way around a saxophone.

I chucked in a little bit of everything: some funky blues for Goliath, some intense modern harmonies for the fight scene, a little bit of Gothic morose-ness inspired by Penny Dreadful on Netflix, a few soft pretties, and a couple of stupid saxophone tricks like multiphonics and slap-tongue.

After rehearsing the piece, Dr. Lamar and the ensemble decided that it didn't suck much, and they would play it in Zagreb (Croatia) during the World Saxophone Congress of July, 2018.

And play it they did!

All self-immolating sarcasm aside, I'm rather glad with the way the piece turned out, and I'm immensely grateful to Dr. Lamar and the Arkansas Saxophones for taking my music to the other side of the planet. Enjoy the video!

Oh and if you happen to be looking for some saxophone choir music, you can find this tune and others on the MUSIC tab of my website, www.wadleyoriginals.com.

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