The Black Swamp for Saxophone Quartet (2006)
The Black Swamp is an adapted movement from Homeland Suite for Wind Ensemble, the first movement for which, The Heart of It All, won the Dallas Wind Symphony’s composition contest in 2003 in a brass ensemble version. The suite reflects on selected locations that the composer called “home” during his career, generalizing the sentiment that all feel for the people and places that meant the most in their lifetime.
As an over-generalization, The Great Black Swamp is the Maumee River Valley, comprising most of Northwestern Ohio. The region was the last settled in Ohio, nearly 100 years after statehood was attained in 1803. Large drainage ditches define the region, as well as the fertile farmland that results.
The Black Swamp, the composition, is capricious. . . sometimes distant, sometimes forthcoming, but never intimate. Described by the term, Subtle Funk, the work begins as an ostinato based on the suspended fourth trichord. The subsequent opening theme appears in the soprano sax and is succeeded by a transparent interlude before restating the opening theme. A fanfare-like transition (quoting the fanfare of The Heart of It All) leads to a secondary theme, first stated by a soprano/alto dialogue. The two themes combine, along with the ostinato, before a climactic build into a coda, which diminishes in energy around the ostinato and quotes of the two themes to a quiet finish.
THIS WORK IS PUBLISHED BY KENDOR MUSIC, INC.