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Solitude (2001), a five-minute piano solo, was performed next by Elizabeth Wolynec. This piece was written as a study in 4ths in the key of G minor, with intervals of 3rds and 6ths added to lighten the starkness of the 4ths. The delicate and intricate melody alternates from treble to bass and back, juxtaposed with two against three rhythms. Wolynec is pianist for the Nashville Symphony Chorus and faculty member at Austin Peay State University.
The next two compositions, Grand Sonata of Alto Saxophone and Piano (2006) and Adagio for Alto Saxophone and Piano (2005), performed by Elizabeth Wolynec and Brian Horner, are both new versions of the pieces that were premièred a year ago. The Grand Sonata is a newly revised version of a three movement work. The Adagio is an arrangement for piano and saxophone duet of the second movement of what was originally a four movement Quintet for Saxophone and Piano. Both pieces are technically demanding and highly expressive Romantic compositions that articulate Johnson's original style, one that is boldly adventurous and beautiful. Wolynec performed with great momentum and vitality. Horner, who has collaborated with Johnson for several years, turned the saxophone into a voice for these new musical ideas.
Copyright © 31 May 2007
Anna L Franco, New York City, USA