Neither Proud Nor Ashamed
New Music for Saxophone
Randall Hall, Saxophone
Christian Lauba: HARD
RandallHall: Reflecting Pool
Luciano Berio: SequenzaVIIb
Nicolas Scherzinger: Schism
Kevin Ernste: To Be Neither Proud Nor Ashamed
Randall Hall, Saxophone
Award-winning artist Randall Hallhas thrilled audiences throughout North America, Europe and Asia. A distinguished interpreter of concertmusic for saxophone, Hall’s performances range from traditional classicalrepertoire to the avant-garde, combining his lyrical tone and stunningtechnique with experimental elements such as extended playing techniques,improvisation and electronic music. Internationally active as a performer and clinician, he has givenconcerts and solo performances in the United States, Canada, France, Belgium,The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Japan, China and Taiwan. He has also given lectures andmaster-classes at institutions around the world, including Harvard University,Cornell University, New England Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music andthe Luxembourg Conservatory. Randall Hall collaborates closely with composersand has premiered pieces by James R. Carlson, Kevin Ernste, Figure, Jing-JingLuo, Colin J. P. Homiski, Jonathon Kirk, Christian Lauba, Nicolas Scherzinger,Mary Stiles, and Paul Swenson. Randall Hall is the recipient of numerous honors including a FulbrightGrant, Frank Huntington Beebe Grant, Presser Music Award and the Premier Prixin the Concour Région Ile-de-France. He has studied saxophone with Claude Delangle, Jean-Yves Fourmeau,Jean-Michel Goury, Kenneth Radnofsky, and Ramon Ricker. Dr. Hall holds degrees from the EastmanSchool of Music (DMA), the New England Conservatory (MM), and the ConservatoireNational de Région de Boulogne-Billancourt, France (Premier Prix). Currently he is Assistant Professor ofMusic at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.
About the Program
Thefate of the saxophone in art music is bound to that of modern musicitself. Although the saxophone wasinvented in the mid-19th century, it did not come into its own untilthe beginning of the 20th century, a time when art music had maderadical breaks with its past. Composers abandoned the traditional tonal system of major and minor scales,and replaced it with the free use of all twelve chromatic pitches. Bymid-century some composers, having accepted previously forbidden pitchcombinations, began to focus on sound itself: both the search for new soundcolors and the possibility of timbre replacing pitch and rhythm as the primaryparameter of music. Composersexperimented to find new ways of playing traditional instruments beyondpitch. Developments in electronicsfurther extended the range of sonic possibilities. The results often challenge our very conceptions of whatconstitutes music by embracing all sound as potentially musical. It is in this world of the avant-gardethat the saxophone has gained its fullest acceptance and its richestrepertoire. Four of the pieces included here (Ernste, Kirk, Scherzinger as wellas my own composition) incorporate both acoustic and electronic resources. The two acoustic pieces (Berio andLauba) have already become staples of the modern saxophone repertoire. All of them explore the new musicallanguage and range in mood from quite reflection to violence.
Iam often asked why I perform this type of music. My reflections on this are in ongoing process, but there aresome trends I can identify. Partially it is out of aesthetic agreement with many of the 20thcentury innovations discussed above; a shared belief in the musicalpossibilities of the new systems, an interest in the exploration of sounditself, and a musical wanderlust to discover what else is out there. Partially it is the modern manifestationof the old 19th century virtuosic ideal, although now mastery of theinstrument includes a variety of special effects and pyrotechnics. To some degree it is a way to come toterms with music in a post-rock-‘n-roll world and infuse the raw energy of rockinto serious art music without creating some type of hybrid that is alien toboth worlds. On the other handthere is something archaic and transcendent about much of this new music. Somehow it invokes something deepwithin us, something pre-verbal, even mythic; perhaps it is the sound of thesubconscious or that of Creation. The central reason I perform experimental music may be that it is themusic of possibility. Any sound ispotentially musical and expressive. With this new freedom we must look deeperinto our artistic goals, going to the core of what we have to say. Having gained clarity about our musicalaims we are now only limited by our imaginations.
Christian Lauba (b.1952) - HARD(1989) solo tenor saxophone (Fuzeau)
French composer ChristianLauba teaches at the National Conservatory of Bordeaux and has received theSACEM Prize, Medal of Honor of the City of Bordeaux and First Prize in theBerlin International Composition Competition. His pieces have been performed internationally. Lauba is a leading composer ofcontemporary music for saxophone and his raucous tenor solo HARD is one of the anthems of this style. The work takes advantage of thesaxophone’s full palette of extended techniques: multiphonics, slap-tongue, tone-color trills, vibratomanipulation, flutter-tongue and key clicks. The composer describes the piece as a “synthesis between thepresent contemporary music and the more popular music (Hard rock, Soul music)which is often improvised. Thesemusics have many aspects in common in spite of the barriers that apparentlyseparate these essential means of expression. The piece is very preciselywritten but it must give the impression that it is a long improvisation. Both performer and audience must gointo a trance at the end of the performance.”
RandallHall (b. 1969) Reflecting Pool (2004) alto saxophone and tape (unpublished)
Sometimes the smallest event can createthe most profound repercussions. ReflectingPool evokes acontemplative but highly charged visual and musical expedition through a cycleof chaos and recovery. The scorewas originally written to accompany a short film by Matt Costanza and StephanieMaxwell at the 2004 Image, Movement, Sound Festival in Rochester, New York. The imagery consists of both animatedand live action footage that have been transformed and layered in digitalpost-production. The techniques used to create this multilayered work includepainting directly on 35mm film that was subsequently hand-manipulated duringdigital rerecording, object animation, and animated recordings of changinglight reflections and movements of microscopic water creatures. The music unfolds in a series ofepisodes following the changing scenes of the film. Each episode presents a small thematic cell, oftenincorporating extended performance techniques, that is freely developed by thesaxophone. The tape consists ofvarious acoustic signals (including diverse saxophone passages, vocalizationsby my daughters Hannah and Rachel, electric guitar riffs, radio static, etc)that have undergone an assortment of digital manipulations. The live and electronic elements arelayered together to produce a range of colors and textures that highlight thefilm images. To learn more aboutthe film contact Stephanie Maxwell (http://www.rit.edu/~sampph).
Luciano Berio(1925-2003) Sequenza VIIb (1969/1993) solo soprano saxophone (Universal)
Berio was one of the mostimportant composers of the 20th century. His Sequenzas are a landmark series of works for soloinstruments. Sequenza VIIwas originally written in 1969 for the oboist Heinz Holliger and was laterreworked by the composer for soprano saxophone. The piece is centered on and moves around a single note. It focuses on sound, its color, attack,variation, and resonance, taking precedence over pitch organization. Berio also employs extended techniqueslike mirco-tonal shadings and multiphonics. This piece is reminiscent of Berio’s work with tape andelectronic composition, and may be heard as an example of acoustic musicimitating electronic music.
Nicolas Scherzinger (b.1968) Schism (2003) alto saxophone and interactive computer (MAX/MSP)(Scherzi Music)
Composer Nicolas Scherzingeris chair of composition at
Syracuse University and received his MMand DMA from the Eastman
School of Music. He has receivedawards and commissions from ASCAP,
SOCAN, the Barlow Endowment,the Jerome Foundation, the Canada
Council, and the Eastman Schoolof Music. His music has been
performed throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in
Taiwan, China, and Europe. His works are published byScherziMusic Press. Schism was writtenfor Randall Hall and consists of a series of short improvisational works forsaxophone and interactive computer using the MAX/MSP application. The main difference between Schism and many traditional works that combine liveinstruments with electronics is the fact that here the computer and theperformer interact with one another in real time. No pre-recorded material is used; all of the computer soundsare generated as the piece is performed. Each piece consists of a collection of pitch materials and specialeffects with which the saxophonist improvises freely. The computer reactsto the saxophonist, manipulating the live signal from the saxophone andproducing a series of sounds based on it. The computer is also capable of creating random elements throughout thework, thus allowing the saxophonist to react in turn to the computer. The interactive computer environment isdesigned to maximize flexibility in performance and to generate, layer, androute musical material with the same improvisational freedom that one mightdevelop with a purely acoustic instrument.
Kevin Ernste (b. 1973) To BeNeither Proud Nor Ashamed (2002) for alto saxophone and electronic music (unpublished)
Kevin Ernste teachescomposition and electronic music at Cornell University. He did graduate work in musiccomposition at the Eastman School of Music. His awards include a Whitford L. Huff Award, two BelleGitelman Awards, a Howard Hanson Ensemble Prize, a McCurdy Prize, an AmericanMusic grant, and the Ralph Jackno Scholarship. His music has been performed inHolland, Taiwan, Singapore, mainland China, Hong Kong, England, Cuba, andthroughout the United States. About this piece he writes: “To Be NeitherProud Nor Ashamed was composed forsaxophonist Randall Hall whose musicality and technique were central to itsconception and realization. The piece combines strictly notated musicwith highly improvisatory passages and an electronic backdrop of soundsrecorded in extreme proximity to the instrument (keys, airflow/blowing,spitting, tonguing the reed, etc). The title comes from Cecil Forsyth'sportrayal of the saxophone as having no history of which ‘to be proud orashamed.’” The composer supervisedthe entire recording and editing process of this piece. His conception was less thepreservation of a live performance than a unique digital creation independentof the piece that is heard in the concert hall. In this way editing becomes part of a “post-compositional”process that unites the acoustic and electronic elements and better completesthe composer’s vision.
JonathonKirk (b.1975) - …necronebula… (2001) tenor saxophone and computer generated drone (unpublished)
Jonathon Kirk is an active performer and composer interestedin many areas of new media, improvisation, and electronic music. His works have been performed by adiverse group of musicians and ensembles including Ensemble Medusa, HarvardCollegium Musicum, and members of Champ D’action. He has had works presented at festivals and venues acrossthe United States, Europe, and Asia including ICMC, Listening in the SoundKitchen, the Knitting Factory, the Spark Festival, and at the festivities ofthe Cultural Capital of Europe in Brugge. He studied music at Augustana College and the Eastman School of Music,and computer music and new media at Brown University. Kirk explains, “…necronebula… was written for my good friend and collaboratorRandall Hall while I was living in Ghent, Belgium. The work takes its name and inspiration from a personaldream image of physical death in outer space, stretching across long timespans, slowly but peacefully. Theunderlying structure of the work can be heard as an inverted auditory spectrum,where the high drone acts as the fundamental, and the tenor saxophone worksthrough a network of unstable harmonics and resultant timbres of the graduallychanging flat-line. Toward the endof the piece as the original pitch within the drone thins out again, humanvoices are heard. This signals theconclusion and the sound of the saxophone dissipates into galactic dust andgas.”
This recordingwas made possible by the generous support of Augustana College through the Fundfor New Faculty Research and the Faculty Research Fund.
Final mastering: Brian Heller
Track 1 was recorded onDecember 8, 2005; track 3 on January 26, 2006; and tracks 4-6 on May 26, 2006in Wallenberg Hall, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois; Ryan Kinneyrecording engineer.
Track 2 wasrecorded in April 2004, at home in Vancouver, Washington.
Track 7 was recorded November 4, 2005 at Cornell University Electronic Music Studio, Ithaca, New York. It was engineered and edited by the composer Kevin Ernste.
Track 8 was recorded liveMarch 8, 2001 in The Tetrahedron Concert Hall, at the Logos Foundation, Ghent,Belgium.
Tracks and Publishers
1: HARD (Fuzeau)
2:Reflecting Pool (unpublished)
3:Sequenza VIIb (Universal)
7:To Be Neither Proud Nor Ashamed (unpublished)
8: …necronebula… (unpublished)