Études du Désert, five pieces for unaccompanied alto saxophone, opus 26
Woody Chenoweth commissioned the Études du Désert in the spring of 2009 and gave the premiere at the World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok, Thailand the following summer. An avid outdoorsman, Woody wanted a piece that dealt with the geography and natural essence of the American Southwest. I responded by composing five short abstractions on the desert as I have come to know it: a sunrise, the scorched midday landscape with wildlife scurrying to and fro, a summer thunderstorm, twilight, and a lullaby to the stars.
Characteristic intervals, pitch collections, and melodic gestures return over the course of the work in different guises. Extended techniques are kept to a minimum, thereby heightening their dramatic effect.
This is Woody’s recording from the premiere performance in Bangkok, July, 2009. Thanks, Woody!
II. La Terre Brûlé
V. Berceuse des Étoiles