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New MacMillan Saxophone Concerto tours Scotland

New MacMillan Saxophone Concerto tours Scotland

This article was posted on 11 Apr 2018.

James MacMillan's new Saxophone Concerto for Amy Dickson tours with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in April, with future performances planned with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Aurora Orchestra.

The new Saxophone Concerto by James MacMillan is premiered on 11 April at the Perth Concert Hall, with Australian virtuoso Amy Dickson and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Joseph Swensen. Further performances follow at Queen's Hall in Edinburgh on 12 April and City Halls in Glasgow on 13 April. The Australian premiere takes place on 17 August with Dickson and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Carter, and the London premiere will be presented by the Aurora Orchestra in a future season.

Though MacMillan has written for saxophone before, this is his first concerto for the instrument. Scored for soprano saxophone and string orchestra, the 15-minute score is among the composer's most distinctively Scottish works of recent years, with its folk-inspired material taking the instrument into unusual geographical territory. The composer describes how the work "is based on archetypes of Scottish traditional music".

"The first movement follows the pattern of a medley of fast dance forms, each section becoming faster and faster. The second movement loosely follows the practice of singing Gaelic psalmody in the Scottish western isles, where a cantor (in this case the saxophone soloist) leads with a melodic line, to be followed by the congregation (the string orchestra) who weave a heterophonic texture out of the canonic flow of parts. The last movement is based on the simple compound rhythm of the jig, with the main melody thrown around between the different sections of the orchestra."

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The Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No. 3010228, whose registered office is at 48 Henniker Point, Leytonstone Road, London, E15 1LQ. Email: finance (@) cassgb.org. Tel: 0845 644 0187

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