Project Info

Project Description

for saxophone quartet:
1=sop.+alto / 2=alto+sop.* / 3=tenor+alto / 4=bar.+alto
(*sop.2 ad-libitum: sax.2 part offers an alternative for the soprano 2 section to be played in the alto)

  • composition date: 1997-2000/rev. 2005
  • duration: ca. 18 min. (2+5+4+5+2)
  • dedication: «for my colleagues of the Invictasax quartet, in deep friendship»
  • movements:
    I – Praeludim
    II – First Abstraction
    III – Intermezzo burlesco
    IV – Second Abstraction
    V – Postludium
  • premiere: 24/11/2005 | Auditório da Sociedade Martins Sarmento (Guimarães) | Quarteto InvictaSax (Hugo Teixeira, Fernanda Alves, Hugo Lopes and Manuel Silva)

It is my strongest conviction that also from diversity derives unity. Plurality is in fact, at least in my opinion, a sign of intellectual maturity, maybe even the foremost characteristic of Humankind. By that matter the thought I’ve once heard from one certain famous contemporary Spanish composer that “aesthetic incoherence” as a style, as “aesthetic” itself, does not signifies by no means a minor oeuvre, and in fact that makes absolute sense to me, especially now at the beginning of the 21st century where the artistic and aesthetic fundamentalisms seem to be finally overcome, and the variety of stylistic options available to the composer in the moment of creative conception it’s wider than ever. Sax-suite is, on other hand, my “blink of an eye” to the kitsch aesthetic. Otherwise how could we explain the mixture of such diverse sound worlds as Bach, dodecaphonist, Ligeti and even a finale alla Hollywood in one and the same piece? All of this within an external arc-form that relates the first to the last movement, the second to the fourth, and where the third functions as the pivot for the all piece, thus conferring to this piece the supposed “unity” derived from “diversity” that I initially claimed. Or at least I hope so!

Such is the variety of influences “cooked” into this suite, and if the final result turns out to be the one I expected it will hopefully give as much pleasure to play and to listen to as it gave me to create it!

The piece is divided into five independent movements:


tonality versus atonality: an absolutely regular metric (borrowed from Bach himself) lays ground for my personal homage to one of the most important composers of all times. Taking the C-minor two voices prelude from “Das Wohltemperierte Klavier” I inserted a new voice of my own, thus creating an entirely different sound world, totally strange to the original.


in one and the same movement what I would call sounding opponent: the “minimalism” of the single sound (evocative of Ligeti), opposed firstly by the harmonic variety (albeit not tonal), and then by the entirety of the tempered scale, the dodecaphonism. The outer form is close to the classical rondo.


a simple ternary form (ABA’) where Messiaen and Stravinsky are obvious references, be it for the use of added values metric, be it by the harshness of articulation. The central section (trio) is in fact a kind of personal imprint, since the melodic and harmonic material used at the “Gavotte” derives from an exercise dating back to my student days at the Oporto Conservatory, becoming at the same time another “baroque” allusion which functions even as the central axle of the entire work (cf. Praeludium e Postludium).


relating clearly to the second movement, also here a “single sound” ambience is used although this time staccato (previously it where sustained notes). These are immediately embellished with adjacent tones, and rhythmically it’s used of metric modulation reminiscent of Elliot Carter. The outer form of this movement his retrograde, meaning that the different sections are recapitulated in inverse order than originally.


new and final homage to Bach, and again in absolutely regular metric, this time however my “intromission” is precisely at the rhythmical level, creating what I like to call “irregular regularity”. This final movement has even something of a retarded Picardie cadence, for it develops in the homonymous tonality of the first movement (Eb minor versus Eb Major). The piece will not end however without a last “blink of eye” to the kitsch, with its final sound explosion (“Grandioso” is the indication for it), which includes glissandi, shifting harmonies and even a forte-pianofollowed by a big crescendo just in the way of a soundtrack to an epic film.

buy sheet music:


listen [excerpt: III-Intermezzo burlesco]:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.