The PRISM Quartet presents an enticing program of recent music for saxophones at First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti. The program features three eminent Michigan composers: William Bolcom, Roshanne Etezady, and Evan Chambers. Chambers’ Deep Flowers features Tim McAllister on solo alto. Roshanne Etezady’s Glint features McAllister and Zach Shemon in an alto duet. Graceful Ghost Rag is an adaptation of Bolcom’s piano work, composed in 1970 in memory of his father, and adapted for saxophone quartet in 2004 by former PRISM member Tim Ries.
PRISM commissioned Josquin Microludes from David Serkin Ludwig in 2012. The work has become a mainstay of saxophone repertoire. Ludwig writes, “I am often inspired by great music of the past, and much of my composing these days involves taking the clay from an older piece and reworking it into my own new musical sculpture. Josquin Microludes is a set of miniatures that incorporates Josquin’s Mille Regretz into its musical language. Each miniature features this famous chanson framed by some variation or transmutation of it. The piece is played continuously, as if channel surfing between ancient music and contemporary sounds. I thought the medium of the saxophone quartet would be fitting for this project that is based on a choral work, as it is its own choir of voices, sustained by breath and line.”
Salvatore Sciarrino’s Pagine is a collection of settings of works by Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa, Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Domenico Scarlatti, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and more. Sciarrino writes, "Pagine (Pages) is an anthology based on different centuries and styles. In arranging the pieces, I have avoided the stereotypical aspects. To the contrary, I have aimed towards the inexorable modernity of the ancient masters, something that today is fashionable to blithefully ignore.”
PRISM commissioned Julia Wolfe’s Cha in 2014. The work is dedicated to the memory of the composer’s father. Julia Wolfe writes: “My favorite memory is dancing the cha-cha-cha with my father. He would hit the dance floor and take me along with him. We danced together from when I was 10 until sometime into my early teens. It was great fun. As I thought about this way of remembering my dad I began to research the cha-cha-cha, and very quickly realized that our suburban version was hardly like the various Cuban versions with their wild sensuality, polyrhythms, and highly stylized movement.The piece takes the cha cha as a starting point and create a joyful deconstruction/exaggeration of the style for the sax quartet.”"