Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke | In the City: New Works for Saxophone and Piano

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In the City: New Works for Saxophone and Piano

by Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke

Performed with singing musicality and technical virtuosity, Uproar's premiere album "In the City" features premiere recordings of works written for saxophonist Andrew Harrison.
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. In the City: I. New Territory
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
2:46 album only
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2. In the City: II. Beauty
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
3:19 album only
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3. In the City: III. On the Highway
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
1:55 album only
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4. In the City: IV. Lost
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
2:19 album only
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5. In the City: V. Nightlife
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
1:48 album only
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6. Fractals in the Afterglow
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
7:15 album only
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7. Five Poisons: I. Hemlock
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
3:05 album only
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8. Five Poisons: II. Belladonna
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
4:19 album only
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9. Five Poisons: III. Strychnine (Homage to Robert Johnson)
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
1:34 album only
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10. Five Poisons: IV. Cantarella
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
4:44 album only
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11. Five Poisons: V. Mercury
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
2:44 album only
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12. Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano: I. Grave, molto rubato
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
4:45 album only
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13. Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano: II. Vivacissimo
Andrew Harrison & Clare Longendyke
4:21 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
In the City - Chris Ozley

When I decided to write a piece for saxophone, I wanted to write something that showed off the jazzy and latin side as well as the more classical and romantic side of the instrument. In the City for alto saxophone and piano is a programmatic piece in which these various styles of music collide. The first movement “New Territory” concerns my move to Austin, Texas, for graduate school; it illustrates many of the nervous and anticipatory feelings I felt when coming to this place 1000 miles from home. The second movement “Beauty” concerns the physical charm of Austin and the hill country. The third movement “On the Highway” is about something I have come to know very well during my time here which is the Austin traffic; you will no doubt hear tires squealing in this particular movement. The fourth movement “Lost” is about feeling adrift in a new place. Finally, the fifth movement “Nightlife” illustrates the down-town, bustling atmosphere of Austin during the evening when multiple bands are playing at various venues in close proximity to one another and the musical energy created through sampling these sundry and often jarring combinations of musical ideas.

Fractals in the Afterglow - David Werfelmann

I have always been fascinated by the way shapes and patterns recur in nature at vastly different magnitudes of size. As an extreme example, consider the way electrons orbit around the nucleus of an atom, how planets circle around the sun, or the way the sun and stars revolve around the center of the galaxy. This self-similar characteristic is found so frequently in nature that once you start thinking about it, it is difficult to ignore the fractal geometry found in virtually everything you see. Clouds, coastlines, blood vessels, trees, and even the very nature of biological evolution all have fractal characteristics. This work, Fractals in the Afterglow is a kind of meditation on the notion that fractals really are everywhere in the known universe, the afterglow of the bigbang.

You may hear this concept expressed musically through short motivic ideas that are passed around to different parts of the work; how the work grows from a simple chord progression to very different conclusions, yet always returns to the same basic idea. I hope the beauty I find in the fractal nature of everything resonates - at least on some scale - in this work for soprano saxophone and piano.

Five Poisons - Andrew Davis

Society has always had a strong fascination with poison. There are constant references to poisons both historically and culturally, anything from the death of Socrates to the actual band, Poison. While poison certainly is an element of the macabre, it is not just its deadliness that seems to attract people. There is a primal quality to it. Perhaps part of the connection is its instrumental role in the deaths of many recognizable figures such as Cleopatra and Adolf Hitler. There are countless poisons ranging from the herbaceous to the synthetic to the natural. Some are more recognizable such as arsenic or cyanide and some less so such as selenium. Nevertheless, each poison has its own individual symptoms and mythology.

In this piece, I was interested in the musical potentiality of the poisons themselves. I wanted to capture those particular physiological elements which make each poison unique. Of course, much of the interest in poison comes from the stories surrounding its use. Therefore, some of the movements reflect the actual quality of the poison and some are inspired by its place in history. Five Poisons is a five movement work for soprano saxophone and piano and was commissioned by saxophonist Andrew Harrison.

Movement I - Hemlock:

Like many herbaceous poisons, Hemlock is only poisonous in severe doses. In fact, it has medicinal uses both as a sedative and as an antispasmodic (a drug used in the prevention of spasms). In literature and lore, Hemlock is most famous for causing the death of Socrates. Plato writes about the death of Socrates: "The man...laid his hands on [Socrates] and after a while examined his feet and legs, then pinched his foot hard and asked if he felt it. He said "No"; then after that, his thighs; and passing upwards in this way he showed us that he was growing cold and rigid. And then again he touched him and said that when it reached his heart, he would be gone." Hemlock is known to cause paralysis just before death, which is why scholars have long thought that Socrates died from Hemlock poisoning. In this movement, I mimic this paralysis effect on a dark jazz groove, which, after a thunderous roar, slowly erodes the movement's propulsion.

Movement II - Belladonna/Deadly Nightshade:

Belladonna, like Hemlock, is a herbaceous poison and one that is particularly deadly to children. Belladonna grows colorful berries with a sweet taste that can be quite alluring. Belladonna is less harmful to adults, though still deadly depending on the dosage. Historically, Belladonna has been used as a medicine, a hallucinogen, and a cosmetic. For this movement though, I focused on its allure to children. The movement begins with a simplistic and innocent lullaby that slowly becomes distorted as the "poison" begins to act. As time wears on, the hallucinogenic quality of the poison takes over.

Movement III - Strychnine

With this movement, I sought to synthesize both strychnine's lore and its physical effect on the body. Strychnine is an incredibly powerful and dangerous poison that induces intense spasming almost immediately after ingestion. Death is typically caused by asphyxiation due to the inability of the body to inhale oxygen during these extreme bouts of spasming. The famous blues guitarist Robert Johnson was said to have died from strychnine poisoning. Supposedly, Robert Johnson was dancing with the wife of a bar owner who, out of jealously, then laced Johnson's whiskey bottle with strychnine. For this movement, I took Robert Johnson's most famous song, Crossroads, which tells of his meeting with the Devil, and transcribed the guitar part for the piano. The movement features two repetitions of the blues pattern; however, the blues is constantly interrupted and altered by a series of musical "spasms."

Movement IV - Cantarella

Little is known about this poison and it is thought to be simply a composite based on arsenic. References to cantarella are primarily historical. The Borgias, the papal family from 1400s to the 1500s, became infamous for dispatching their rivals with the poison. Additionally, Cantarella is thought to be the poison that Juliet took to feign her death. It is the latter story that inspired this movement. The movement is based on a recurring melody that captures the thoughts of Juliet as she was sleeping.

Movement V - Mercury

The phrase "mad as a hatter" is used to call someone crazy. Its origin, though, comes from the 19th century when mercury was used in the production of felt for hats. Workers in these factories with prolonged contact to felts began to develop mercury poisoning. Insanity was a common side effect of exposure to mercury. Like the poison, this movement is wacky and fast-paced and hopefully does justice to the mad hatters of the world.

Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano - Jules Pegram

When saxophonist Andrew Harrison first approached me about writing a piece for alto saxophone and piano, I jumped at the opportunity to write for a player of such superb abilities and fine musicianship. I was also delighted to learn that we share a mutual admiration for classic Hollywood film scores. Andrew expressed a special fondness for film noir soundtracks, such as Jerry Goldsmith’s Chinatown, Miklos Rozsa’s Double Indemnity, and Bernard Herrmann’s final score for the film Taxi Driver, with its dark thematic content and legendary sax solos.

In the first movement, the saxophone bolts forward with brilliance and energy. An equally virtuosic piano counterpart constantly amps up the tension, making for a lightning fast musical repartee.

The second movement demonstrates the lyric capacity and sonic richness of the saxophone. In setting this dark middle movement, I strove to write sweeping lines and lush, noir-inspired textures. The music here is lonesome and pensive, creating a warm atmosphere of haunting pathos.

The final movement is a jaunty escapade based on a lyrical, sweet melody. The tune meanders through a series of developments and variations, all the while showing off the saxophone’s extensive range, bright timbral possibilities, and extraordinary agility.

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