Soprano Saxophone : Marimba
(12 minutes 30 seconds)
Commissioned by Michaela Stapleton and Eri Kaishima
(The marimba part is written for a 5 octave marimba, starting on low C - 2 octaves below
First performance: Friday, 8 March, 2013
St. John's Notting Hill
London - England
Cocora: Michaela Stapleton - soprano saxophone
Eri Kaishima - marimba
Cocora: Michaela Stapleton and Eri Kaishima
The marimba is an ancient instrument from the Americas and Africa, particularly Central
America, yet sounds contemporary in European classical music. The saxophone is the
opposite, a modern instrument.
In this work much use is made of four mallet chordal writing which has a unique resonance
on the marimba, as well as repeated drone like phrases.
The saxophone writing is influenced by my memory of first hearing Steve Grossman's early
soprano saxophone playing, improvising over percussive
Although saxophone and marimba are rare in classical music, the sound world has precedents
in the late 1960's, early 1970's jazz, where the use of wooden percussion, synthesized
percussion and soaring soprano saxophone lines are heard on numerous significant recordings.
This work was commissioned by Michaela Stapleton and Eri Kaishima. The title refers to a
section in a book I was reading at the time, by composer Ichiyanagi, about ancient
resonances in contemporary music. He mentions a particular pitch, that is associated in
Wu Xing, with the 'earth' element, its colour is 'yellow', and its season is mid-summer.