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Topic: "Procession" - AATB Saxophone Quartet, Grade 3

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  1. #1

    "Procession" - AATB Saxophone Quartet, Grade 3

    https://www.box.com/s/fe44b76d898d83ec9668

    Here is "Procession," an AATB saxophone quartet. It's all Garritan instruments with a touch of Garritan Ambience. I wrote this specifically as a Grade 3 and scored it for two altos, tenor and baritone saxophones. I considered soprano, alto, tenor and baritone, but because the piece is aimed at students, I thought a soprano saxophone would be hard to find in schools.

    As always, I'm eager to hear feedback on the music and on its presentation.

    Thanks!
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  2. #2
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: "Procession" - AATB Saxophone Quartet, Grade 3

    Hi Art ... Welcome to the forums!

    I think I noticed one of your other pieces here during the week, but this one ... featuring sax quartet! ... caught my eye today.

    I really enjoyed it and thought it had all the qualities of good quartet writing; nice job. Seemed like all the saxes had some interesting lines to play (although, since bari is my favorite, I probably would have liked even more prominent spots for him!). I thought the slow movement nearly at the end kind of took the air out of the piece; maybe I'll feel differently after several more listens.

    I agree sop sax may not be available (or too difficult to keep in tune for less experienced players), but don't assume that: I went with my nephew to retrieve his alto clarinet from his school's band locker and he first had to move an EEb contra-alto clarinet out of the way ... in a town of 1,000 in Iowa!.

    A suggestion: If the range of alto 1 is within a sop sax range, why not score it for SATB and just provide an alternate part for alto sax? Just an idea ... I love a soprano on top whenever I can use one in sax groupings.

    As far as the mix, I thought the dynamics were a little extreme and sometimes too sudden. But the clarity was excellent throughout.

    Thanks for sharing this Art ... nice!

    Regards,

    Frank

  3. #3

    Re: "Procession" - AATB Saxophone Quartet, Grade 3

    Hi Frank. Thanks for listening and for your comments. I tried to give everyone some interesting portions--maybe you're right about the baritone saxophone part...I

    The alto 1 part is in range for a transposed soprano saxophone part. Maybe I'll just add that as optional, or, as you suggest, SATB with optional alto 1.

    The other piece you mentioned is "Pastoral Splendor: Celebrating Rural America," for concert band. I'd welcome your comments, if you get a chance!

    Suburban NYC? My wife and I are originally from Joisey--Westfield (me) and Union City (her).

    Thanks again.

    Art
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  4. #4

    Re: "Procession" - AATB Saxophone Quartet, Grade 3

    Hi, Art!

    I love the overall idea of the piece--I can see this getting on many state solo & ensemble lists.

    I also share Frank's sense that the contrasting (slow) material came rather late--I wonder if there is a possible insertion point for that material earlier on? I like the material itself, for sure, just expected it to come sooner or not at all, given the shortness of the piece. Perhaps the slow material could be a second movement...add a third movement...there's a "Little Suite for Sax Quartet!" Just thinking out loud!!

    You squeezed a lot of interesting and attractive content into a short period of time!

    BTW: Art & Frank, I was born in Brooklyn (around Bensonhurst), grew up near Shea Stadium in Flushing, then moved & finished High School at West Morris HS in Chester, NJ (Morris County). I was first chair tuba (not euphonium) in 1969 NJ All-State Band conducted by Frederick Fennell.
    Jim Williams
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  5. #5

    Re: "Procession" - AATB Saxophone Quartet, Grade 3

    Hello again! It's nice to hear more music from you on this (thankfully cool) morning! I think this would be a lot of fun for students to play. I can easily imagine a the group of saxophonists that would love playing this when I was in school. This style of music would have been right up their alley

    Really enjoyed the listening, thanks for sharing!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
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  6. #6

    Re: "Procession" - AATB Saxophone Quartet, Grade 3

    Quote Originally Posted by sanyarem View Post
    Hello again! It's nice to hear more music from you on this (thankfully cool) morning! I think this would be a lot of fun for students to play. I can easily imagine a the group of saxophonists that would love playing this when I was in school. This style of music would have been right up their alley

    Really enjoyed the listening, thanks for sharing!
    Thank you, Michael.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  7. #7

    Re: "Procession" - AATB Saxophone Quartet, Grade 3

    Quote Originally Posted by snorlax View Post
    Hi, Art!

    I love the overall idea of the piece--I can see this getting on many state solo & ensemble lists.

    I also share Frank's sense that the contrasting (slow) material came rather late--I wonder if there is a possible insertion point for that material earlier on? I like the material itself, for sure, just expected it to come sooner or not at all, given the shortness of the piece. Perhaps the slow material could be a second movement...add a third movement...there's a "Little Suite for Sax Quartet!" Just thinking out loud!!
    Thanks for that. I'll have to reconsider the slower material's placement. This piece is actually the first part of a 3-part saxophone quartet I wrote years ago. The third part was published separately (now out of print), and I rescored the second part as a concert band piece. I've been changing this part around for years.

    You squeezed a lot of interesting and attractive content into a short period of time!
    Thanks!

    BTW: Art & Frank, I was born in Brooklyn (around Bensonhurst), grew up near Shea Stadium in Flushing, then moved & finished High School at West Morris HS in Chester, NJ (Morris County). I was first chair tuba (not euphonium) in 1969 NJ All-State Band conducted by Frederick Fennell.
    I did the NJ All-State and Regional (Central Jersey Region 2) Band stuff a bit earlier than you--1965-66. That was fun--good bands, good literature, good conductors, fun times!

    Art
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  8. #8

    Re: "Procession" - AATB Saxophone Quartet, Grade 3

    Hello, Arthur - Thank you so much for getting more music up for us to hear!

    This piece has a really fresh sound to it, a very good natured vibe to it. There's an originality to it that makes me really appreciate the short, fun ride.

    Like the other piece you recently posted, it sounds like there's still more loosening up that could be done with Finale's Human Playback. But a bigger issue is one already noted by Snorlax and Frank D - the dynamic volume shifts aren't working in a very natural way. I believe you can program how Finale interprets the markings, and maybe you're using the default settings. If so, they're just too wide to work well in this particular piece anyway. When the instruments instantly dip down in response to a p marking, they're just going down too low. It sounds like someone's going crazy turning a master volume knob up and down. I would suggest fewer dynamic shifts, along with programming a narrower volume range.

    The others on the thread also had the same reaction as I do to the slower section in the last 1/4 of the piece - it doesn't seem to fit. Since the whole piece is short, the sudden and dramatically different mood seems out of place. It does seem like material for another movement. To keep this section you've posted bright and lively, like most of it is, would seem the stronger choice.

    Sure enjoyed most of this though. Thanks!

    Randy

  9. #9

    Re: "Procession" - AATB Saxophone Quartet, Grade 3

    Hi Randy. Thanks for your comments. I very much appreciate your feedback.

    I'll listen again critically to the dynamics and to the slower section with your comments (and others!) in mind.

    Thanks again!

    Art
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

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