The Imagined Sound of Sun On Stone: Saxophone Concerto No. 1

Sally Beamish (1956)

The Imagined Sound of Sun On Stone: Saxophone Concerto No. 1 1999

2(1)22(1)2(1)-2200-Perc, Str
Duration 
20
Genre 

I have drawn on music from various cultures to create a `hymn’ in celebration of the coming of light and the turning of seasons.

The piece begins with a reference to a Swedish herding call – a special high-pitched song which carries over long distances. This music returns as a refrain throughout. The first part of the piece is inspired by ancient natural horns and primitive drumminjg, interspersed with more modern `blues’ harmonies, and the climax is reached as a bell-like, clamour in C major, depicting the moment at the solstice when light enters the prehistoric tomb.

After this the music becomes more fragmentary; half-heard glimpses; as if the shaft of light has somehow released sounds stored in stone for millennia; layers of music long forgotten. Christian influences appear, drawing on psalms and chants from different traditions celebrating the enlightenment of Whitsun.

Sally Beamish

Performances 
21.6.99 St Magnus Festival: John Harle/Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Joseph Swenson
1999, Sweden: John Harle / Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Ola Rudner
2
Flute
2nd doubling piccolo
2
Oboe
2
Clarinet
2nd doubling bass clarinet
2
Bassoon
2nd doubling contrabassoon
2
Horn
2
Trumpet
1
Percussion
(Esc)