Andrew Boss Saxophone Concerto

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The Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra is a large two-movement work intended to introduce a highly innovative, uniquely challenging, and genuinely musical approach to modern saxophone writing. Written for Sean Meyers and the east coast's newest ensemble Symphony Number One, it combines the musical virtuosity of the saxophone with a very actively responding orchestra, resulting in an intense musical experience created through the intricate and equally essential dialogue taking place among the players.

The 1st movement begins dramatically and sets the pensive and melancholy mood of the opening. The saxophone introduces the main material, which binds the piece and develops through several soloistic cadenzas. The mood from the beginning transforms into an uplifting resolution through a powerful crescendo. A final cadenza segues into the more upbeat Concertante, which further develops the musical material while adding rhythmic complexity and dynamic interest. The movement ends with a cathartic wash of sound by the entire orchestra. The 2nd movement combines elements of musical contrast with instrumental tambours bound by an underline theme first introduced in the clarinet in the Dialogue. This section contains a pastoral undertone which then leads to a highly-energetic Toccata. The unyielding music in the Toccata soon merges with the slower music from the beginning to make a final powerful orchestral climax. The music then settles and resolves into a peaceful and transcendent finale bringing back previously heard material.

—Andrew Boss, Composer

Critical Acclaim

Boss, who earned a graduate degree at Peabody a few years ago, has crafted a substantial, two-movement, half-hour concerto in a fundamentally tonal, often vividly spiced language. From the lush opening chord and the questioning response it generates from the saxophone, the music pulls you in gently.

The composer treats the solo instrument with a keen appreciation for its songful possibilities. In the first movement, the sax often soars in rhapsodic fashion above a glittering orchestral fabric. The second movement moves from wistful reverie to urban/folksy swirl to high drama, before a burst of aching lyricism ushers in a radiant, reflective close.

Saxophonist Sean Meyers offered technical aplomb and keen expressive nuance throughout.
— Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, 9/29/15

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