Live at Fort Miley

For the last couple weeks I’ve been a bit obsessed with recording my Soprano Sax in various acoustic environments at Fort Miley Military Reservation near work.

I tried as much as possible to include environmental sounds, from birds to skateboarders to passersby.

I think it is an interesting slice of where I am as a Soprano Saxophonist and improvisor.

Live at Fort Miley, by Erik Ellestad

Live at Fort Miley, by Erik Ellestad

6 track album

Source: erikellestad.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-fort-miley

2017-09-20 Time Lapse

Time Lapse

Time Lapse by Evan Parker.

Some solo, some multitracked, and some with real time electro-acoustics, all Soprano Sax. My understanding is these tracks were recorded and compiled over the course of several years.

Fairly accessible, as there is more traditional melodic content on this release than many of Parker’s other solo Soprano albums, this is still an outstanding tour de force from one of the great instrumentalists of our time.

Also, great titles like, “Those Doggone Dogon” and “Gees Bend”. Bonus points for a reference to one of my favorite Baudelaire prose poems with, “The Burden of Time”. 

#EvanParker #timelapse #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

072.SaviorWhenInDust

Please turn to number 72 and join with the woodwinds in, “Savior, When in Dust”.

Three times through, Soprano Sax playing the melody part instead of clarinet. First time as written, some improvisation on the second time through, then a return to the written part on the third.

Number: 72
First Line: Savior, When in Dust
Name: SPANISH HYMN.
Meter: 7 7, 7 7. D.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: Arranged by Benjamin Carr, 1768-1831
Text: Robert Grant

Clarinet Arrangement: 0072.SaviorWhenInDust

I guess this is a Spanish Chant which was arranged by Benjamin Carr.

Benjamin Carr (September 12, 1768 – May 24, 1831) was an American composer, singer, teacher, and music publisher.[1]
Born in London, he was the son of Joseph Carr and older brother of Thomas Carr. He was also the nephew of his namesake Benjamin Carr (1731–80), who ran an instrument-making and repair shop in London for over 20 years.[1]

He studied organ with Charles Wesley and composition with Samuel Arnold. In 1793 he traveled to Philadelphia with a stage company, and a year later went with the same company to New York, where he stayed until 1797. Later that year he moved to Philadelphia, where he became a prominent member of the city’s musical life. He was “decidedly the most important and prolific music publisher in America during the 1790s (as well as one of its most distinguished composers), conducting, in addition to his Philadelphia business, a New York branch from 1794 to 1797, when it was acquired by James Hewitt“.[2]

He was well known as a teacher of keyboard and singing, and he served as organist and choirmaster at St Augustine’s Catholic Church (1801–31) and at St Peter’s Episcopal Church (1816–31). In 1820 he was one of the principal founders of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia,[1][3] and he is known as the “Father of Philadelphia Music”.[4] Mrs. French, who had achieved a degree of fame as a singer, was one of his students.

The text is pretty grim, a catalog of Christ’s suffering and ultimate triumph. It is a bit odd, sort of an invocation.

1 Savior, when in dust to Thee
Low we bow the adoring knee;
When, repentant, to the skies
Scarce we lift our weeping eyes;
O, by all Thy pains and woe
Suffered once for man below,
Bending from Thy throne on high,
Hear our penitential cry!

2 By Thy helpless infant years,
By Thy life of want and tears,
By Thy days of deep distress
In the savage wilderness,
By the dread, mysterious hour
Of the insulting tempter’s pow’r,
Turn, O turn, a fav’ring eye;
Hear our penitential cry!

3 By thine hour of dire despair,
By thine agony of prayer,
By the cross, the nail, the thorn,
Piercing spear, and torturing scorn,
By the gloom that veiled the skies
O’er the dreadful sacrifice,
Listen to our humble sigh;
Hear our penitential cry!

4 By Thy deep expiring groan,
By the sad sepulchral stone,
By the vault whose dark abode
Held in vain the rising God,
O, from earth to heav’n restored,
Mighty, re-ascended Lord,
Bending from Thy throne on high,
Hear our penitential cry!

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

055.SongsOfThankfulness

Please turn to number 55 and join with the woodwinds in “Songs of Thankfulness”.

Number: 55
First Line: Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
Name: TICHFIELD
Meter: 7 7, 7 7. D.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: John Richardson, 1816-79
Text: Christopher Wordsworth, 1807-85

Another very “folky” tune. Simple.

Clarinet Arrangement: 055-songsofthankfulness

This one felt like it needed a Soprano Sax. Only once on each instrument, three times through. Audacity “Medium Room” Reverb effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

053b.BrightestAndBest

Please turn to number 53 (Second Tune) and join with the winds in singing, “Brightest and Best”.

Number: 53
First Line: Brightest and Best
Name: LIEBSTER IMMANUEL.
Meter: 11 10, 11 10
Music: Himmels-Lust, Leipzig, 1675
Harm. J. S. Bach, 1685-1750
Text: Reginald Heber, 1783-1826

Something about Baroque Music always makes me think of Soprano Sax. I guess it is it’s similarity in tone to the English Horn and Oboe. Though, cough, really the Soprano Sax didn’t get invented until the 1840s. And the Clarinet didn’t exist in something like its current form until around the same time.

This is an older setting of this hymn (1675!), which has been tarted up a bit by that joker Johann Sebastian Bach.

Johann Sebastian Bach[a] (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach’s compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and over three hundred cantatas of which around two hundred survive.[3] His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Here’s the clarinet arrangement: 053b-brightestandbest

This Hymn struck me as a little odd. It kind of doesn’t have a typical chord sequence, and it doesn’t end particularly satisfyingly. Took me a while to find the dynamics and also to get my mind around the tonal palette.

Since Baroque tunes are fairly busy, I didn’t double any except the Soprano/Melody part, which I played on both Soprano Clarinet and Soprano Sax. I added an Audacity “Medium Room” Reverb Effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

048.WhatChildIsThis

Please turn to number 48 and join with the winds on “What Child Is This”.

First Line: What Child is This
Name: GREENSLEEVES
Meter: 8 7, 8 7. With Refrain.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: English, before 1642
Text: William Chatterton Dix, 1837-98

First, the tune is an English folk tune called “Greensleeves” of unknown origin.

Wikipedia, as usual, Greensleeves.

Several versions of the song were registered, the earliest in the late 16th Century:

A broadside ballad by this name was registered at the London Stationer’s Company in September 1580,[2] by Richard Jones, as “A Newe Northen Dittye of ye Ladye Greene Sleves”.[3]

The tune was apparently quite popular at the time, as Shakespeare mentions it in a couple places in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (written, c.1597; first published in 1602).

The text of the hymn “What Child is This?” comes from a Poem by William Chatterton Dix:

At the time he was writing the lyrics to “What Child Is This?” in 1865, William Chatterton Dix was working as the manager of an insurance company.[5] He was afflicted by an unexpected and severe illness that resulted in him being bedridden and suffering from severe depression. Hisnear-death experience brought about a spiritual renewal in him while he was recovering. During this time, he read the Bible comprehensively and was inspired to author hymns like “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!” and “As with Gladness Men of Old“.[1][4] The precise time in 1865 when he wrote the poem “The Manger Throne” is disputed. While the St. Petersburg Times details how Dix penned the work after reading the Gospel for Epiphanythat year (Matthew 2:1–12) recounting the journey of the Biblical Magi;[6] Singer’s Library of Song: Medium Voice contends that it was actually authored during the Christmas of 1865.[4]

They Hymn version was first published in an English Hymnal in 1871.

Here’s the clarinet and Soprano Sax Arrangement: 048-whatchildisthis

I’ve been enjoying playing Sax as the melody on these, so I continued the trend with What Child is this. Doubled all the clarinet parts and used the usual Audacity “Large Room” Reverb effect.

I was thinking I might try some improvisation the second time through, but listening to Coltrane’s version just made me feel self conscious of my own inadequacies.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

047.AwayInAManger

Please turn to number 47 and join with the winds in, “Away in a Manger”.

First Line: Away in a Manger.
Name: AWAY IN A MANGER.
Meter: 11 11, 11 11.
Tempo: Tenderly
Music: 19th Century, American
Text: St. 1,2, Anonymous
St. 3, John Thomas McFarland, 1851-1913

Another of your Christmas Hymn war horses, I felt I needed to do something a little different. It was also kind of odd in that it only had a unison voice part, so adapting the keyboard part for the harmony instruments was a little odd. Went too low, even for Bass Clarinet.

Clarinet & Soprano Sax Arrangement: 047-awayinamanger

I added the Soprano Sax into the mix as the lead part. Played through once, improvised (Hymnprovisation!) a bit on the second time through, and then returned to the melody on the third time through.

The rest of the parts were doubled by the usual clarinets.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal