THE SEA OF STONES: A Concerto for Guitar and Saxophone

Dances and Reflections-
Dark Dream-
Dialogs and Meditations-
Last Light
(Played without Pause)

For guitar, alto saxophone, and orchestra – Duration: c 23:30




Classical saxophone and classical guitar is an unusual pairing and combining it with orchestra is even more so. Because the Ryoanji Duo had previously commissioned two successful Kechley works the performers were anxious to premiere a new piece in which ideas from those earlier works could be explored in the context of an orchestral sound world. The composer shared the group's enthusiasm and as a result The Sea of Stones was commissioned for premiere at World Saxophone Congress XIII in Minneapolis in July 2003.

The influence of In the Dragon's Garden (1992) is clear from the opening percussion "roll off" and the many strumming patterns, which often create the basis for complex orchestral textures. The opening "roll off" is a typical pattern heard in Zen temple ceremonies often using a wood block sound starting slowly and becoming faster and faster.  In The Sea of Stones the "roll off' becomes a dramatic opening event as it is played by bass drum and tom tom. It is developed in various ways and returns at the climactic moment where the process is then reversed in Last Light. The drum strokes become further and further apart as the music dies away in a series of episodes, which reflect upon earlier musical events. By the end of the piece the strokes are so far apart that the pattern is barely discernable. Orchestral color and intense lyricism, and dramatic gesture and qualities often found in Kechley’s orchestral work and The Sea of Stones is no exception.

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