Far Cry for Alto Saxophone and Piano.
Composed 2014-5, published 2016.
Duration: about 17 minutes.
The composition of Far Cry arose in the first instance from a desire to write a really substantial and searching work for Anthony Brown and Leo Nicholson. But the piece was also stimulated by my experience of the Neolithic sites created by the people of Orkney around five thousand years ago. The excavations taking place on the Ness of Brodgar are revealing evidence of a highly sophisticated community with astonishingly advanced building technologies and, implicitly, a highly developed social network system to match. The larger edifices include the stone circles at Brodgar and Stenness as well as numerous chambered cairns, the most celebrated of which is Maeshowe. No doubt these artificially created (and mostly sacred) spaces afforded an uncommon acoustic experience for the people of the time, and quite possibly they would have employed resonance and the properties of standing waves in their rituals to create heightened states of mind.
At the beginning of Far Cry the Piano assumes the role of passive resonator, but as time goes on it contributes more and more to the musical argument and stimulates the Saxophone to ever greater flights of fancy and passion. - George Nicholson