Piece of the Week – Final Whistle!

Recently published is the saxophone collection, Final Whistle, to which I contributed four of the pieces. Aimed at learners at around Grades 2-5, with editions for Eb and Bb saxophone, several of the pieces feature in the 2018 ABRSM saxophone syllabus.

My interest in writing for the saxophone goes back a long way: in 1990 a teaching colleague of mine, the late Angela Fussell, asked me to write a piece, Circular Melody, for the Colchester Institute Saxophone Choir (one of very few in the UK at that time) which was first performed at the first British Saxophone Congress at Wakefield. This commission, together with Angela’s enthusiasm, awakened my interest in this sonorous and colourful instrument, and I followed this up with Three Picasso Portraits, commissioned by the saxophone quartet Saxology, and recorded by them on CD and now available on Spotify. At the same time my son Sam’s interest in the saxophone was awakening, and I wrote Weekend for him in 1993, when he was eleven, and subsequently the much more challenging Workout, in 1997. (both of these publications are with piano accompaniment and are available in editions for alto and tenor sax). Now in his thirties and a professional saxophonist, Sam is reviving Workout, with me at the piano, for a lunch time concert on 25th October at Colchester’s Lion Walk Church.

Then, in 2005, I wrote a set of saxophone studies, Sixty for Sax,  but apart from arrangements of existing pieces I’ve written little else for the saxophone until now, so it was good when saxophonist Chris Gumbley invited me to contribute to his new collection, Final Whistle. The book contains four pieces by me, four by James Rae, and four by Chris Gumbley, who edited (or ‘refereed’ as he says) the book and chose the football-themed titles – mine are called ‘Kick-off’, ‘Mexican Wave’, Waltzing to Wembley’ and ‘Final Whistle’.  I had a lot of fun writing these pieces and reviving my interest in writing for the sax.
Here are the publication details. There are no recordings yet, but who knows what may happen as the book rises up the league!