Instrumentation: Amplified soprano saxophone & stereo electronics
Commission: Susan Fancher
NASA (North American Saxophone Conference)
This version of For the Fallen, for soprano saxophone and electronics, was commissioned by Susan Fancher. The original, for trumpet and electronics, was commissioned by Ivano Ascari. After discussing the project with him, I decided to take my inspiration and create the electronics from recordings of the Capana del Caduti (Bell for the Fallen) in Rovereto, Italy, his hometown. Later called Maria Dolens, the bell was originally cast from cannons melted after World War I and is one of the largest ringing bells in the world. It is rung daily in memory of the fallen in all wars. While political situations changes in their particulars, the presence of war sadly does not. I composed For the Fallen while thinking not only of those who fell in World War I, but also of those who have fallen in war ever since.
The saxophone part sometimes blends with the bell sounds, ringing for the fallen, at other times it rises in mourning, even wild keening, before closing with a sense of resignation. The original bell recordings were kindly provided by engineer Marco Olivotto. In performance, the sound of the amplified sax should blend with that of the electronics. Susan Fancher premiered this version at the North American Saxophone Conference. –JS