Three Movements for Improvising Oboe, Soprano Sax, Viola, Cello:
It is natural as we age to contemplate the finality of passing on, if not personally, then certainly as an effect from others around you whom have left this space. Having to endure the passing of family and friends is of course very trying. This is especially true when the perception is that someone “passed before their time” though there are those of us who believe in fate implying that the Force works in its own mysterious way. In some ways I can subscribe to that concept, but for me when someone passes early, say in their fifth or sixth decade of life, it is “before their time.”
Composers often commemorate passings with music as a means to mourn and as well to celebrate the life of an individual who meant something to them. Such is the nature of this piece.
Movement 1 – Past uses as source material themes I wrote for my mother Frances and father Leo when they passed; movement 2 – Present centers around a choral (“Prayer for Mike”) I wrote for my dear friend, saxophonist Michael Brecker when he passed a few years ago.
This same period also saw the passing of other friends and associates whom I had known for years, all way too premature, beginning with JF Jenny Clarke and Bob Berg, Hans Gruber, Thomas Stowsand, David Baker, James Williams, Dennis Irwin, John Stubblefield. The final movement – Future is a requiem of sorts for all of us still here. With its improvisational character, it is meant to suggest the positive implications of living life to its fullest.