Adam Gorb’s Concertino for Alto Saxophone and Piano

Adam Gorb Adam Gorb

Adam Gorb’s Concertino for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble was the result of a commission from Tim Watson as part of a new series of solo works for that instrument. It was first performed in a closed workshop on 27th November 2010 with the Hertfordshire Youth Wind Orchestra conducted by Mark Eager, and the first public performance was at St. Matthew’s Church, Northampton on 17 December 2010 with Tim Watson and the Northampton County Wind Orchestra conducted by Peter Smalley. I have always suggested that Adam Gorb is one of the great light music composers of our time, with a flair for memorable gestures, flirting with jazz, Klezmer and simply good tunes, His Concertino for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble is the third major work premiered in 2010, following the War of the Worlds in March and Eternal Voices for choir, soloists and wind orchestra, in November.

Andante – andante moderato – allegro – andante – allegro – andante - allegro

The work opens with a cadenza like passage accompanied by low brass chords, a typical Gorb rising gesture, based on fourths and thirds, which then is transformed into a languorous waltz, alternating triple time with duple. The mood changes to a fleet allegro scherzando in a mix of 4/4 and 7/8, with virtuoso runs for the saxophone over crisp rhythmic ostinati in the brass with melodic counter material in the wind, breaking out into tutti outburst with some dramatic harmonic shifts and one of Gorb’s crazy walking, or rather, running bass lines. Another shift of tempo, and under muted brass chords, the opening gesture is heard, again andante as an introduction to a slow, bluesy section with prominent solos for the baritone saxophone. The fourth section is a return to the scherzando material with typical Gorb shifts of metre and syncopations, culminating in a short cadenza, a brief tutti section returning to the waltz material before a final fast loud coda section.