Donald Sanborn III (1996)

Instrumentation: two Alto Saxophones, one Baritone Saxophone.

Another title I considered for this piece was Swing Set. In composing, I love nothing better than to combine genres, and in this piece I attempted to combine 1940s swing idioms (the rhythm) with set theory (the melody). The baritone saxophone serves the same function as a drum set would, providing the rhythmic pulse for the altos. The melodic lines given each instrument are based on a tone grid similar to those of Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern. However, I have taken some liberties with tone row technique, known as combinatoriality. For example, I often repeat and alternate pitches before I have used all the pitches in a row. Had I choesen to follow Schoenberg's technique strictly, this would not be permissible. Also, I do not use a twelve-tone grid, but a grid in which each row contains a subset of five pitches.

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