Dimwit’s Delight (2005)
For saxophone quartet, 7′
Commissioned by The Walden School for the PRISM Saxophone Quartet
The Premiere Saxophone Quartet
Dale Wolford, soprano saxophone
Kevin Stewart, alto saxophone
David Henderson, tenor saxophone
Aaron Lington, baritone saxophone
About the Music
Dimwit’s Delight is an impish piece of the sort of dopey humor one associates with dimwits, dunderpates, and dingbats alike. In its use of typical saxophone “extended techniques” and stereotypical frenetic gestures, it is extravagantly clichéd. Each change of character displays another side of the dear dimwit’s nature. Even he has his witty moments, as well as his grooving, sneaky, ugly, and brazen ones.
Formally, the piece is in three main sections. In the first, a stuttering set of rhythms gradually gives way to a driving groove, supported by a structure of isolated interval groupings. Throughout the section, more and more textural, rhythmic, and harmonic gestures accumulate, creating two successive climaxes—one little and one big. The second section displays a deliberate ugliness, an inharmonicity achieved through growls, glissandi, altissimo pitches, and quarter tone tunings. After this section sputters out, the third rebuilds a structure reminiscent of that of the opening, piling on new sets of interval groupings and new rhythmic and textural gestures until the piece collapses under its own weight.
Available from Friedrich Hofmeister