Sonata for Tenor Saxophone and piano

Tony Davis

Sonata for Tenor Saxophone was written for the composer and his pianist, Andy Cholerton, for the 1994 British Saxophone Congress in Yorkshire, England. It is a powerful and technically demanding chamberjazz work for tenor saxophone, which seeks to exploit the interests of today’s saxophonist.

The first movement, Don’t let up funk, has a powerful pointillist texture which frames a cool, lunging swing section. Both sax and piano get a chance to let loose with improvisations (cuts optional) before a powerful declamatory section returns us to the funk. The vibrant ending, with sax on impressively high harmonics, makes this a useful single movement work for shorter concert programmes.

The second movement, Hedonism, explores smouldering depths and frenetic and challenging heights.

The third movement’s marking, Gregorian chant, about to burst, just about says it all… It begins with a hauntingly beautiful reverb effect created by playing the sax into the piano with the sustain pedal depressed. From here the chant takes over and takes hold, developing into every faster exchanges between sax and piano. Following a short and smouldering cool off section, the pianist is gripped by an unsettling and every-exploring bass line that fails to restrain the maniacal solo line.

All movements can be played independent of one another.


Composer Tony Davis

Where are you from?

Instrumentation Any sax or flute (requires digital delay FX and PA)
Unpitched audio (CD)
Duration 4’19”
Style Chamberjazz
Suitable for Professional or under-graduate recital programme
Extended techniques Multiphonics; over-blown harmonics
Postage & Packing UK £3  Rest of world £6.80