Since the last post, I've also expanded the soloist's role just a little bit more throughout the entire concerto in order to fully showcase their artistic and technical capabilities to an even greater degree. The latter especially comes through at full force with this third and final movement of Summertime Echoes, "Blazing Spectacles." To preserve some surprises with this piece, only the teaser preview of this movement has been provided.
"Blazing Spectacles" lends itself to this fascination with various sparks and spectacles as part of holiday celebrations (or other similar social occasions) that could be experienced during the summertime. This can be anything from fireworks shows to nighttime bonfires, sparklers, and more. The soloist's narrative role is mainly technical in that aspect - not much of the music here relies on melodic content, though melodies certainly exist. Rhythmic and harmonic chaos are abundant instead.
A multitude of extended techniques and other special effects run wild, stemming from the soloist and finding its way into the wind ensemble. The soloist adds two new multiphonics into the fray, in addition to the return of their multiphonic used in the first movement "Youthful Adventures."
Call-and-response sections between the soloist/winds and an assortment of drums eventually lead into the full wind ensemble spinning out of control on their own, as if the soloist has conjured up music so frenetic that it ultimately cannot be controlled. Of note, the energetic drive established continues with clashing rhythmic figures under a freely-rising, out-of-time mass of sound from the upper woodwinds, in which all of the players are independent from each other.
The resulting outburst of sound that follows is matched by the soprano saxophone multiphonics with woodwind shrieks and forceful pointillistic statements. This isn't exactly a light-hearted movement - it's more of a fiery, musical frenzy that constantly shifts in style and tone.
"Idyllic Chronicles" briefly nodded to Jordan's jazz background by offering an optional passage of pure improvisation during the soloist's cadenza. Two additional nods were included within the framework of "Blazing Spectacles." The first is a brief, fast-paced section driven by walking bass and clashing, dissonant, rhythmic chords. The soloist develops a rhythmic motive created for this movement, which in turn is echoed throughout the rest of the saxophones in the wind ensemble.
The second nod occurs after the movement appears to wind down in energy and volume. Here, the soloist is given the opportunity to fully, independently improvise any form of extended techniques, multiphonics, and other special effects at their discretion. This is all accompanied by a percussion feature with a new assortment of drums and the return of that never-ceasing energetic drive.
This builds into a reprise of that moment where the wind ensemble once again seems to find itself spinning out of control, this time made even more chaotic by a rhythmically-displaced field drum.
This is only a taste of what "Blazing Spectacles" has to offer. Without spoiling much of the rest of the movement, there are a few very brief things I will additionally mention. One more wild soprano saxophone cadenza acts as the bridge between a very tense few minutes of music to an even wilder finale. Everything established in this concerto comes back in some form. And, I tend to think that it pushes the soprano saxophone (and soloist) to their very limits.
How on earth could this music become any more chaotic than it already is? Tune in to the world premiere of Summertime Echoes on November 22 at Hope College, Holland, Michigan, and you'll see - well, hear - what I mean.
You're probably also wondering how on earth could a piano reduction be created from this piece? More on that in the next post.