Neil Welch - July 22, 2012
This Session (and all those following in the indefinite future) will take place back at our home, Cafe Racer!
A Response to the Wednesday Morning Shooting at Cafe Racer. Seattle, WA. May 2012
Scored for solo tenor saxophone, A Response to the Wednesday Morning Shooting at Cafe Racer. Seattle, WA. May 30th, 2012 is a work in 13 miniature episodes. Each episode ranges in length from 1 minute to 5 minutes. Some of our brothers are gone, others were wounded and our haven for creative music, Racer was pulled from us these past few months.
I’m amazed by the idea of performing with little audible silence. It evokes something very unique in my mind while I’m performing in such a way, but as of yet I’ve really never explored public performance with longer bouts of audible space. With this very much in the forefront of my mind, this new work is my first attempt at a public solo performance where audible silence is a crucial part of the performance and the composition.
The 13 episodes use some recurring themes and repeated or transposed harmonies. Working in tandem with my improvised solo pieces, I’ve tried to give the listener a strong sense of personalized style and the feel of a broader picture in the composition. The piece is in Db, with the pitch being more of a springboard for melodic activity rather than a tonic. Nearly each pitch in every episode is accompanied by a dynamic direction. My intention is to have this piece be replicable by others, but flexible enough to be sculpted by the performer.
At present I’m undergoing a mass survey of the techniques under development in my solo playing. As many of these techniques are sound and texture oriented versus traditionally pitched, it’s difficult for me to find ways to properly express them on a written page. One system I’ve come to rely on is a combination of pitches on a staff and the old saxophonist method of a visual drawing of a saxophone fingering to be used to make the sound. In addition I’ve often added written descriptions that are needed to create the sound, such as: dynamic level, how much pressure to use on the reed, or vowel sounds to shape the inside of the mouth.
This piece was composed with the intention of having another saxophonist interpret and perform it in the future. Each element of this piece: phrasing, dynamics, duration and sound clusters are fully composed. I tried to be as clear as possible in the score as to the creation of every sound to be made. There are many traditionally notated pitches, but additionally there are graphic notations related to tonging as well as the full notation of chords to be played while using a given extended polyphonic technique. In lieu of reference recordings this week I’ve included the score to give some context to the above description. If you’re a saxophone player, please feel free to give this piece a shot on your own.
I composed this piece as part of a healing process for myself and as a gift to the beautiful community I’ve come to love and rely upon. I hope you enjoy this new piece and I lovingly dedicate it to those that lost their lives and their loved ones on that day.