Breathing Lessons (2002), David Sampson

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Breathing Lessons (2002), David Sampson
Year of Composition: 2002     Composed for the ASQ
Scene 1: Maggie and Ira Doran, A Trip to Deer Lick
Interlude 1: "Settle for Being Ordinary?"
Scene 2: Daniel Otis Meets the Morans
Interlude 2: "Lives Alone...Drying Out Like a Raisin"
Scene 3: Jesse and Fiona: Reunion
Interlude 3: "Four Vacant Rockers"
Scene 4: Maggie

Composer Biography

1951 —

DAVID SAMPSON (b. 1951, Charlottesville, Virginia) has emerged as one of the truly unique voices of his generation achieving rapidly growing attention from major orchestras, soloists and ensembles. He is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Colonial Symphony Orchestra (1998-2003). Recent and coming major premieres include Hommage JFK commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra; Monument commissioned by the Barlow Foundation for the Akron and Memphis symphony orchestras; Turns for Cello and Orchestra commissioned by the Bergen Foundation and cellist Paul Tobias and premiered with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Recent recording releases include Monument Triptych Hommage JFI( Three Portraits, Simple Lives (Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra; Alan Balter, conductor; Raymond Mase, trumpet; Scott Mendoker, tuba; Summit Records DCD237); Short Stones (Dorian Wind Quintet, Summit Records); Morning Music and Distant Voices (American Brass Quintet, Summit Records); Reflections on a Dance (Summit Brass, Summit Records).

Composition Notes

Breathing Lessons for saxophone quartet is a seven movement, twenty minute composition written during the spring of 2002. It was created for the Amherst Saxophone Quartet through funds provided by Chamber Music America's Commissioning Program, supported by The National Endowment for the Arts, The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, and The Chamber Music America Commissioning Endowment Fund.
"The inspiration for Breathing Lessons carne from a book of the same name by Anne Tyler. Written in 1988 and published by Alfred A. Knopf, it has been a favorite of mine for many years. When asked to write a work for the Amherst Saxophone Quartet, the idea of creating musical scenes and interludes based on a book I so admired seemed perfectly natural. Breathing Lessons begins with a scene followed by an interlude and then alternates the two. The scenes are extroverted depictions of events in the book while the interludes are introverted ruminations of poignant quotes. This seemed to me to depict the power of the book with its effervescent energy on the surface and a sad darkness underneath. The musical result is a seven movement journey through varied saxophone colors and techniques written to showcase the extraordinary technical and more importantly expressive talents of the Amherst Saxophone Quartet." — DAVID SAMPSON