Opus 410

Polpis Dreaming (2002)

for Contrabass Saxophone and Piano

Jay C. Easton, contrabass saxophone; Loie Flood, piano

Duration: 7.25 min.

Dedication: for Jay C. Easton

Commission: Commissioned for Jay C. Easton

Publisher: Musik Fabrik

Performance materials available from the publisher.

Polpis Dreaming (2002) for contrabass saxophone and piano was commissioned for and is dedicated to Jay C. Easton. The work was inspired by Easton’s championing of the more unusual members of the saxophone family, particularly the contrabass with its incredibly powerful and deep sound.

The title refers to Polpis, a region of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts that borders Nantucket Harbor with a variety of smaller inlets. This work is one of a variety of pieces connected to the landscape of Nantucket. In the case of this piece, the extra-musical image was one of the incredible depth of the ocean (perhaps parallel to the depth of the contrabass saxophone’s sound) slowly being “explored/achieved” through the means of inlets.

The work’s basic material comes from the saxophone’s opening gesture, which moves upward from the bottom of the instrument. The pitch material and interval content that are transformed throughout the work are presented in that motion.

The first section of the work is declamatory, with lyric impulses. The material of the work is unfolded as the sounds of the piano’s resonance, combined with the tone of the contrabass saxophone are explored. A faster middle section occurs next in which the harmonic gestures and transformations are always moving towards greater consonance. After the middle section, there is a return to the mood of the opening, although the material of the middle section also appears in transformation.