04.09.17Connecticut Alliance for Music Recital
Recital of French repertoire performed for CAM in Westport CT!
08.03.14Chosen as Soloist at the 17th World Saxophone Congress and Festival!
On July 19th, 2015 I will be performing David Biedenbender's "Dreams in the Dusk" with the La Garde Republicaine as part of the 17th World Saxophone Congress and Fesitval held in Strausbourg France.
11.04.13Arrangements are available of Saint-Saens, Loeffler. Wieniawski to come!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in my transcriptions/arrangements of some of the pieces from my latest CD including the Saint-Saens introduction and rondo capriccioso, Loeffler Two Rhapsodies and soon the Wieniawski Scherzo-Tarantelle. Thanks for the interest!
09.23.13Images Album is released!
This is my first solo album release Images, which features my own transciptions of Saint-Saens, Wieniawski, Loeffler, and Karg-Elert along with David Biedenbender's Images for saxophone and piano. Available as a CD from cdbaby.com or on digital download platforms including itunes, amazon.com, cdbaby.com, and many more!
Here are some brief program notes to go along with the album:
Karg-Elert: Caprice 30 from 30 Caprices for Flute, Op. 107 (1918)
This 30th caprice is the final study from the collection of 30 Caprices which have become a staple of classical flute training around the world. Karg-Elert has this to say about the 30 caprices in the introduction portion of the work:
"These Caprices, as well as my other works for flute, composed between 1915 and 1918, owe their inception to the eminent artist Carl BartuZat, principal flutist of the Leipzig Theatre and Gewandhaus-Orchestra at whose side I played the oboe in a good military band during the war.
"The 30 Caprices originated from the urgent need of forming a connecting link between the existing educational literature and the unusually complicated parts of modern orchestral works by Richard Strauss, Mahler, Bruckner, Reger, Pfitzner, Schillings, Schoenberg, Korngold, Schreker, Scriabin, and Stravinsky; and the most modern virtuoso soli....Besides this, the Caprices explore new and untrodden paths in technique; a technique which may be required from one day to another in some new impressionistic or expressionistic work."
The 30th caprice highlights Karg-Elert’s finest melodic and technical writing in the series of the 30 caprices. It is a chaconne, a common form of music arising from the baroque era, which uses a simple short harmonic progression usually with a repeating recognizable bass line. The 30th caprice starts with descending series of 4 simple notes which act as the harmonic structure and bass line throughout the piece which then quickly goes through 17 variations until reaching a virtuosic, energetic finish.
Saint Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28 (1863) trans. Yanik, arr. Miller
The Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso is stalwart showpiece for violin and orchestra, and has been played by almost every great violinist that one could imagine. Saint-Saens originally wrote the piece for Pablo de Sarasate, another famous composer (mostly for violin works) and also an accomplished violinist in the 19th century. As homage to Sarasate, the piece is rooted in Spanish dance music rhythm and drive throughout.
The piece opens with a melancholy yet still technically challenging introduction section with the orchestra mostly setting a background for the melody in the violin part, which eventually gives way to interjecting contrasting sections and arpeggios for the soloist leading into the Rondo section. Rondo forms traditionally have a central theme alternating with one or more contrasting themes. Saint Saens gives us the main theme right off the bat in the violin which leads eventually into several other contrasting themes but always coming back to the first theme either in the violin or later in the orchestra part while the soloist outlines the chord arpeggios. The piece ends with a brilliant closing coda section.
On a personal note, I had decided to transcribe the violin part when preparing a solo for the 2011 US Navy band Saxophone Symposium where I played it with the US Navy Band (there was a band arrangement with violin in our library already). I was fortunate enough to be able to perform this piece many more times with the Navy Band on two of our national tours. It is certainly a challenging piece which has helped me have a better command of the saxophone and pushing me to think more as a musician than a saxophone player. I thank Dave Miller very much for making this chamber group arrangement for the recording, and I thank all my friends who played for me for the recording, including Andrew Skaggs as conductor.
David Biedenbender: Images, for alto saxophone and piano (2008)
Mr. Biedenbender has this to say about his 3 movement work, Images:
“I wrote Images following a dream I had one night. After waking from this dream, I was left with a rather indistinct image of what had actually taken place, yet the impression that it left on me was so unmistakably vivid, I felt compelled to write this piece based on the elusive memory. The first image communicates the uncontrollable and dizzying sense of motion that occurs in the moments between sleep and lucidity; the second reflects upon a beautiful stillness that is distorted and then transformed back to tranquility; and the third is reminiscent of a wild, late night jam session."
Images and David’s music in general is starting to become widely performed by Saxophonists across the country. I had the pleasure of being the second saxophonist to perform this piece, having played it in December 2008 at the University of Michigan. It is a challenging yet very rewarding piece that will surely be a cornerstone in the repertoire.
Charles Loeffler: 2 Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola and Piano (1905) trans. Yanik
Loeffler’s Two Rhapsodies is a beautiful, haunting set of contrasting movements based on two poems by the French poet, Maurice Rollinar which act as a vehicle for tonal imagery in each of the movements.
The first movement, L’Etang (The Pool) has this poem:
Full of old fish, stricken blind long ago, the pool, under a near sky rumbling with thunder, bares the splashing horror of its gloom between centuries-old rushes. Over yonder, goblins light up more than one marsh that is black, sinister, unbearable; but the pool is revealed in this lonely place only by the croakings of consumptive frogs. Now the moon, piercing at this very moment, seems to look here at herself fantastically; as though, one might say, to see her spectral face, her flat nose, the strange vacuity of her teeth – a death's-head lighted from within, about to peer into a dull mirror.
This movement has a mix of dark, simple melodies in all three instruments at the start and end, with a middle section of more aggressive and triumphant themes. Loeffler masterfully interweaves all three parts together so that all three are equally important in all the themes.
The second movement The Bagpipe has this poem, which explains the general mood of the movement as well:
His bagpipe groaned in the woods as the wind; and never has stag at bay, nor willow, nor oar, wept as that voice wept.
Those sounds of flute and oboe seemed like the death rattle of a woman. Oh! his bagpipe, near the cross-roads of the crucifix!
He is dead. But under cold skies, as soon as night weaves her mesh, down deep in my soul, there is the nook of old fears, I always hear his bagpipe groaning as of yore.
Finally, the album ends with the blistering Scherzo-Tarantelle by Henryk Wieniawski, another signature piece in the violin repertoire which I transcribed for saxophone. This is a very demanding show piece that is sure to win over audiences as a closer or encore. Joy Mentzel again joins me on piano.
Overall I had a lot of fun making this album and performing this music over the past 2-3 years, I hope you enjoy it. If you would like to purchase any of my transcriptions from me, they will soon be available at my website or you can email me at email@example.com.