Douze Études-Caprices by Eugène Bozza
In his 1957 preface to Bozza's Douze Études-Caprices, saxophonist Marcel Mule (the work's dedicatee) proposes that these virtuosic etudes are our equivalent of Paganini's famous Caprices for solo violin. For me, recording all of Bozza's Douze Ètudes became an obsession-project made possible by the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020. On the grounds that Bozza simply wrote "pour Saxophone," I chose to perform some on soprano or tenor in addition to the traditional alto. (I do not own a baritone.) This video is the result--a project begun in lockdown 2020 and finished in my Covid isolation two years later. Like any good set of etudes, Bozza's pushed me musically and technically. In addition to my interpretations, I hope that my thoughts on the errata are also useful. I chose to include an unedited live performance from a Hartt saxophone studio class for the final etude, which I believe brings a needed human element to the "studio"-recorded project.
Formed at The Hartt School in 2020, Duo Axon is composed of Derek Granger, saxophone and Dan Ingman, percussion. Sharing a love of contemporary chamber music, Dan and Derek are active in commissioning new works for non-traditional combinations of saxophones and percussion. Recent commissions include Deep State by Robert Rankin. Duo Axon was awarded second prize in the 2021 Hartt Chamber Music Competition, and received the Vandoren Student Recital prize at the 2021 North American Saxophone Alliance Region 8 Conference. Dan and Derek are DMA students at The Hartt School, studying with Ben Toth and Carrie Koffman.
The Quarantine Variations
The Quarantine Variations is an artistic collaboration between poet Patrick Kindig and saxophonist Derek Granger, born of the self-isolation spurred by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Each variation presents original pieces of poetry and music that ekphrastically speak to one another.
The creative process: 1. Derek comes up with some sort of writing prompt. 2. Patrick has twenty minutes to write a poem in response to said prompt, then ten minutes to revise it. 3. Derek reads Patrick's poem and takes the afternoon to write, perform, and record a piece of music interpreting it.
Variations 1-30 were produced between March and August 2020, and they were first posted on Instagram @thequarantinevariations. In this version of the variations, the music has been finished and remastered, but the poems are presented in their original form.