2000 National Band Association
Twenty-fourth Annual William D. Revelli Composition Contest
Restless Birds before the Dark Moon was commissioned by the United States Military Academy Band and saxophonist, SSG Wayne Tice, for premiere at the World Saxophone Congress in Montreal in July of 2000. This is a challenging work demanding virtuosity and skill from both ensemble and soloist, but it is extremely well crafted and allows both ensemble and soloist to shine. Restless Birds is immediately attractive to the audience due to its color and energy, but its ultimate impact goes much further than this with its many profound and introspective moments and solid yet unpredictable form. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this work is how the timbre of the saxophone is combined with various instruments and groups within the ensemble. The composer employs both modal and chromatic materials with equal force and often presents the same idea transformed from one of these poles to the other.
As the title suggests, the mood ranges from foreboding to frenetic. Despite its extremely energetic opening there is also an underlying lyricism throughout much of the work which comes to full fruition at the close of the middle section with the saxophone soaring above a darkly colored brass chorale. After this broadly expressive moment the opening tempo is resumed and the piece begins to move ever more dramatically to its final hair-raising climax and a final burst of energy, which has the soloist in rapid-fire unison with the entire ensemble.
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Recorded on compact disc, West Point Band, United States Military Academy, 200 Years of Excellence(http://www.usma.army.mil/band/recordings/vol_1.htm)