What are some of the challenges you faced?
This is my first work for saxophone quartet! So there was a bit of a learning curve with regard to making that ensemble work for me. The saxophone is such an instrument with a wide range of capabilities that I was always not sure I was using this ensemble to its full potential. Saxophones are especially good at blending, particularly when the players have experience playing together, so I was able to evoke an almost choral timbre in some places in the piece. At the same time, I wanted them to be harsh in other places, so finding ways to transition smoothly, or abruptly, was definitely a challenge.
Is there anything specific you'd like listeners to look out for in your piece?
There is a pretty major quotation at the end of the work. I used the chorale from the Christian hymn The Old One-Hundredth as the source material for the ending of this piece. This particular hymn has special significance to me, as it evokes powerful feelings of light and grace. I have used this quotation in another piece of mine, a piano solo entitled On the Nature of Self which is also about personal struggles that I have encountered.
What do you hope audiences will take away upon hearing your piece?
Typically, I try to keep an open mind about the audience experience. This piece is very much about me grappling with my own dealings of loss and recovery, and so I guess I would hope that listeners might be able to relate that to some experiences in their own lives. I have no lesson to teach anybody, but I would hope that this expression of my own struggles might provide some solidarity for anyone who happens to find themselves in a similar, or not so similar, situation. Whatever the listeners take away from this performance, I am incredibly grateful to them for listening to this very personal and emotionally significant account.