BOOM!!! ...for Real!
BOOM!!! ...for Real! is a fifteen-minute chamber concerto for alto saxophone (doubling tenor) and mixed chamber ensemble. The paintings and techniques of three American expressionist painters—Cy Twombly, Franz Kline, and Jean-Michel Basquiat— influence the concerto. Three continuous movements connected by two cadenzas organize the composition. The movements portray and develop aspects of each painter's technique of improvisation and structure, while the cadenzas serve as transitions between movements. Twombly's use of loops and pseudo-script in the paintings Untitled (New York City), 1968 and the series Three Notes From Salalah and Camino Real influence the first movement and first cadenza. Three sections divide the movement, with each section representing a work or series. The movement explores linear gesture using a contrapuntal framework of temporally independent voices within a tutti texture, creating a dichotomy between independence and integration. The cadenza, scored for solo alto saxophone, continues the preoccupation with line by merging improvisation and gesture. It is a collection of melodic contours composed from tracing leaves gathered during an autumn hike. The through-composed second movement explores shifting textural opacity reflected in the work of Franz Kline. The manipulation of dissonances and orchestration color the initial wide-spaced octaves. Outbursts of agitated melodic activity accumulate to activate the foreground and create a sense of randomness. However, background strata such as pacing, rhythmic durations, and structure are controlled using proportional relationships. The dichotomy between melodic gesture and controlled background of the movement reflects Kline's methodology versus public perception of his work. The graffiti tags and paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat inspire the second cadenza and the final movement and feature the tenor saxophone. Spoken text, noise, rhythmic momentum, and improvisation evoke the frenetic nature of Basquiat's work. The final movement develops the energy of the cadenza, by adding a constant juxtaposition and layering of fragmented and disparate musical material, comprised of noise, improvisation, text, and hints of vernacular music genres. Rapid changes of texture, orchestration, volume, and temporality shape the dramatic arc. The complete concerto unfolds with spontaneity of form, vivid color, and dramatic arc using the gestural and structural techniques of Twombly, Kline, and Basquiat.
Table of Contents
Instrumentation -- Performance notes -- Acknowledgments -- Boom!!! ...for Real!