Written title - Ian Stewart - composer/musician handwritten

To Make A Prairie

Saxophone ensemble : percussion : narrator
(9 minutes)

Click here for complete instrumentation

First performance of revised version - 27 June 2012
Royal College of Music - London
Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble - director Kyle Horch
Stephanie Schmalzle - Voice

First performance of original version - 19 May 2011
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Chicago
Northwestern University Saxophone Ensemble
Frederick L. Hemke - conductor

To Make A Prairie

Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble - Kyle Horch



To Make A Prairie

Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble - Kyle Horch



To Make A Prairie

Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble - Kyle Horch



Programme notes:
I used to listen to many compilations of what was called Ibiza ambient music, and liked the way sampled spoken voices were integrated into the overall sound. This gave me an idea for a work with spoken voice and saxophone ensemble. Serendipity provided the opportunity soon afterwards, when I was asked to write for the saxophone ensemble at Northwestern University. The director, Frederick Hemke, suggested a work "with solo, duet, trio or quartet of voices; perhaps with words on a poem by Emily Dickenson". The original work was performed in 2011, in Evanston, Illinois.
The work opens with a quartet of 2 soprano and 2 baritone saxophones, and there are passages for a trio of alto saxophones, as well as sections featuring the two sopranos. For this concert I decided to rescore it, adding timpani and percussion; the second movement featuring obbligato xylophone, and rudimental drumming, a style I have long admired.
Emily Dickenson's poetry is often simple yet profound, often mystical, and with a deliberately unusual punctuation and spelling.