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Bright Sonata

Composed 2016, rev. 2018


    alto saxophone


Duration 13'


    I. Ritmico e brillante

    II. Andante sostenuto - Largo espansivo

Commissioned by

    Matthew Amato

Bright Sonata for alto saxophone and piano - NotePerformer3 RealizationJoseph Foster Harkins

Program Notes

    The concept of brightness and light is a popular topic for contemporary composers, and I am no exception to this group. I find our individual perception of light fascinating, the way we can each reinterpret what light enables us to see in the world. The same sun ray yields a different reality to each of us, and the absence of light brings different degrees of comfort or discomfort to all. The Bright Sonata here focuses on the former, on the plenteousness of light in our world, both natural and manufactured.

     The Bright Sonata is cast in two movements. The first is rhythmically and sonically bright, making heavy use of major seventh sonorities and lively, bubbling rhythms, with considerable interplay and unison exclamations between saxophone and piano. The second movement is bright through its permeating sweetness and delicacy and could perhaps be interpreted as intellectually bright as the movement increases in complexity and unpredictability.

    The Bright Sonata in its current form was prepared for Garrett and Christie George, with the original work commissioned by Matthew Amato in the fall of 2016.

May 8 2018

Joseph Foster Harkins


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