Variations (On several lines by Amy Clampitt) - Sidney Corbett

Variations (On several lines by Amy Clampitt) (1995) – Sidney Corbett (b. 1960)
Alto and baritone saxophone.
Berline Verlag Neue Musik, published 1996

Members of the Rascher Saxophone Quartet (RSQ) premier a handful of duos and trios. They do not limit their repertoire to only quartets. Variations (On several lines by Amy Clampitt) is composed for alto and baritone saxophone duo.

Sidney Corbett is a native of Chicago. He studied composition at U.C. San Diego and Yale. He then travelled to Germany to study with György Ligeti. Corbett has lived in Germany since 1985 and teaches composition at the University of the Performing Arts in Mannheim.

Corbett refers to the poet Amy Clampitt (1920-94) in the title of this work. Clampitt wrote the best-selling poetry collection The Kingfisher, as well as five others. She was both a Guggenheim fellow and a MacArthur Fellow.

Corbett’s duo is a five movement suite, suggesting an allusion to the Baroque without the dance characteristics.
1. Opening
2. Three Inventions
3. Dance
4. Arias and Refrains
5. Finale with Cadenza
The contrapuntal parts incorporate many elements of 20th century harmonic language and rhythm. The expansive note durations of the first movement dispel any feeling of pulse, while additive rhythm established pulse, but dispels metric organization in the second movement. Corbett effectively writes for the versatility of the instrument. He exploits both the soft, lyrical side and the aggressive, edgy side of the saxophone. The last movement juxtaposes these two extreme sides of the instrument. He creates both transparent, ethereal textures in the upper range and bright, piercing lines in the altissimo. I find the drama of his music very engaging.

Hear it:
RSQ (Harry Kinross-White, Kenneth Coon), America
BIS, 1998

Other saxophone works by Sydney Corbett: Refrains from Holy Land (1997) saxophone, electric guitar, bass; Lamentations of the Prophet Micah (1998) alto saxophone and organ