Program Book 2000-2001 page 31
Concert III: Program Notes, continued

incorporate a similarly kaleidoscopic view of the basic rhythmic figures used in my composition. Closely Related Fungi is dedicated to the Amherst Saxophone Quartet, who premiered the work in February 1997." — Jonathan Golove

MICHAEL SAHL was born in Boston in 1934 and began to play and make up little pieces around the age of five. He began serious musical training when he was eight with teachers including Louise Talma and Israel Citkowitz. By college he had developed an interest in modern music, studying at Tanglewood and receiving his MFA from Princeton. He then went to Europe on a Fulbright Scholarship to study and compose 'modern music'. Sahl writes: "But i. was not to be. My desire to write old-fashioned tonal melodies kept me from really participating in the then reigning style, and from displaying the necessary astringency in my work. Returning to America with a wife and child in 1963, I found 1) that some of my folk-friends had gone into what was becoming "folk-rock", and 2) that my tonal abilities could help me (perhaps) make some kind of living in music. Eventually, after an episode in Buffalo playing avant-garde music for Lukas Foss, I became the pianist and arranger for Judy Collins, and was thrown in with "folkies", who had the same ear that I did, if not the same musical education. As I look back over my work now, it seems to me to be dominated by the hybridization of those two musics that commanded my deepest heart's affection, namely Romantic music, and jazz/rock. "Romantic" melody lines appear in conjunction with "rhythm-section grooves".

"The Saxophone Quartet was written for the Amherst Sax Quartet after a number of performances of Storms, ('86 for sax quartet and string quartet), and was finished on February 3rd, 1991. It was premiered the next January, (the day the Bills lost the Super Bowl). In writing this piece I had to struggle from falling into the string quartet mannerisms that I had absorbed from years of string writing. Probably the most important thing I had to concentrate on was maintaining the tenor and the baritone as BREATHING lines. You will hear that there is quite a bit of hocket in the piece, as well as other moments which require a lot of attention to balance. Coming from the world of jazz saxophone playing, I was always at them to play louder and nastier, something which classical sax players hate to do, so much so that they leave the' other' mouthpieces at home in a drawer somewhere. However, as you either are about to hear or have already heard, they eventually synthesized their natural sophistication and delicacy with some moments of exquisite vulgarity." — Michael Sahl

Amherst Saxophone Quartet Program Book program notes