Ian Stewart



8 Saxophones (ssaattbb) : piano : double-bass (or bass guitar) : timpani
(12 minutes)

First Performance : 4th March, 2002
Concert Hall - Royal College of Music, London

Below is the complete live recording on Friday 26 June, 2009 - director Kyle Horch

Calming - Section 1

Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble

Calming - Section 2

Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble

Calming - Section 3

Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble

Calming - Section 4

Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble

Programme Notes :
Two important influences in Calming are the jazz arranger Gil Evans - in the sense of orchestration and voicing of chords; and the artist Andy Warhol - in the uniformity of the sections and sense of repetition.
Ian Stewart has written of this work:
"I told a Japanese dancer I knew that I found some Japanese abrasive electronica very relaxing, which seemed like a contradiction. She said that in Japan silence would probably be perceived as abrasive and she then described something she had done in Butoh Dance. The dancers lay on the floor, very still and calm, imagining their spirit floating above them. This was accompanied by harsh, abrasive electronica which focuses the calm, the two together being complete. In this work, although the sound of a saxophone ensemble is often warm, I want the chords to be abrasive so that the overall effect of the music is very calm.
Recently, I have also come to dislike too much change in music, finding the convention of contrasting tracks on CDs distracting. For this reason, the four sections are in the same time signature and the tempos vary little, so that the resulting mood is consistent. This is the reason the work is described as being in four sections, not movements."
Calming was written in 2001-2 for the RCM Saxophone Ensemble.