Instrumentation: Solo alto saxophone
Duration: 15' - 17'
Commissioned by: Christopher Condon
Movements: One movement
Program Note: Arcanum for solo alto saxophone was composed for and dedicated to my good friend, the excellent saxophonist Christopher Condon. "Arcanum," more frequently encountered in the plural "arcana," is a profound and mystical secret known only to initiates (for instance, the alleged knowledge of the ancient alchemists turning lead into gold). Music making, too, is a kind of bizarre magic. I have long been in awe of truly exceptional performers and their ability to conjure notes out of thin air, create sounds and evoke emotions with seemingly little effort, then transmute those ideas into different directions or back into silence in the blink of an eye. In this composition, I sought to capture this capricious and supernatural quality through a seamless thread of variations. Arcanum was premiered on 24 May 2014 in Hamburg, Germany by the dedicatee. Condon subsequently recorded Arcanum on his album "Pieces" in 2016 after touring the composition throughout the southeastern United States.