Saxophone Quartet (SATB)
Inspired by the 1948 Coleman Hawkins’ unaccompanied solo improvisation “Picasso”.
In his 1912 publication The Beginnings of Cubism, avant-garde poet Guillaume Apollinaire defined cubism as "the art of painting original arrangements composed of elements taken from conceived rather than perceived reality." Picasso Cubed is an abstract recasting of tenor saxophone giant Coleman Hawkins’ remarkable 1948 unaccompanied tenor saxophone improvisation Picasso into a composition (recomposition?) for saxophone quartet.
Inspired by the techniques of Pablo Picasso and the cubist painters of the early 20th Century, Picasso Cubed dissects Hawkins’ improvised material and reassembles it in an abstracted form. Using the four distinct voices of the quartet, Hawkins’ phrases are fractured into a series of intersecting variations that manipulate texture, density, color, space, and form.
Picasso Cubed was created for my dear friend and former student David Milne, his saxophone quartet JAZZAX, and the 2003 World Saxophone Congress.