Live recording by Jeffrey Leung at Britton Recital Hall, University of Michigan.
“Light is the largest diamond in the crown of beauty...and through it even the most insignificant thing becomes a beautiful object." (Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation)
These two virtuosic concert etudes are a study on alternate fingering techniques unique to saxophone players. The slow first movement focuses on the mixed fingering trill technique, in which the right "trill hand" plays independently from the left "fingering hand," creating subtle timbral interferences and resulting patterns in the musical surface. The effect is a beautiful, constantly changing texture, like shining light on a diamond slowly rotated in one's hand. Through the course of the piece, particles from the trill gradually separate and turn back inwards, chipping away at its grain - a process of refinement one could imagine continuing indefinitely.
A contrasting second movement features fast passagework with palm fingering applied. Throughout the movement the saxophonist fingers major scales, but the resulting pitches are microtonal and timbrally varied, creating an interesting dissonance between what is notated and what is heard. Moving between chromatic and microtonal gestures, the noisy and active texture is gradually illuminated by distinct layers of counterpoint. Where the first movement was introverted in mood, the virtuosity of the second movement is outwardly dazzling, like light catching a diamond rotated at an extremely fast speed.