The first movement, “Remaining Neutral,” while seemingly describing a political stance is really just explaining a piece of music cycling the entire 24-tone scale in which all the chords are neutral triads (containing a 3rd that falls halfway between major and minor). Likewise, the second movement, “Seeming Partial” similarly exploits the 1/2-sharp fourth whose proximity to the 11th partial was explained above. “Uncommon Ground” is just that, a ground melody in the uncommon time of 5/4, a personal favorite, harmonized as a chorale exclusively with uncommon-sounding chords derived from the interval that divides the perfect 4th in half, chords which give Hindemith’s once revolutionary chords built on 4th, so loved by jazz pianist McCoy Tyner and many others, further possibilities. Finally “Incremental Change” exploits a riff that slowly ascends by transposition up the shortest of possible steps, a quartertone. Here the baritone saxophone takes center stage, implying that change must start from the bottom before it can reach the top. Perhaps this is political music after all!
Tags: sax quartet, saxophone quartet, quartet