Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano (2016)

​Listen to the piece

  • Instrumentation: Alto saxophone, piano.

  • Description: After seeing a masterclass on the instrument, I was very inspired to write a piece for it. Ultimately, it was written specifically for my friend Lexie Aguilar, and in March of 2017 we performed it at the NASA Saxophone Convention. Initially inspired by Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, but going in different directions from that piece, my Sonata is in the typical 3-movement formula, with the first and third being in sonata-allegro. The first movement’s second theme, marked dolce, took a while to come up with. It has a pretty typical development section with piano trills and a big saxophone cadenza, which leads into the recapitulation. The second theme is slowed down and played with a bit more, which leads into a frisky coda. The second movement plays around with the idea of music moving around one point—that one point being the note “B”. The rhythmically unstable line playing the “B” over and over starts and ends simply, and gets more complex and complicated as the movement continues, eventually being intertwined with melodic ideas, before finally thinning out and coming back to where it began. Finally, the third movement is a sort of quasi perpetual mobile, with the saxophone playing lots of virtuosic sixteenth notes. Its development section is particularly disconnected, with the saxophone doing its own “riff” of sorts, completely out of touch with the changing key areas of the fragments of the two themes in the RH, and the LH just bouncing along a march bass, minding its own business. The piece ends with lots of scales in the saxophone leading to a triumphant C major. 

 
 

©2020 by Joshua Iyer.