Op. 24 (2019) for saxophone trio (SaB)
VIGOR was commissioned by my friend and colleague Marwin Esguerra to capture the essence of his musical journey in pursuing both saxophone and music therapy. In particular, the piece focuses on the concept of moving forward through all of life's difficulties, especially when trying to strike a perfect balance between two disciplines. Throughout VIGOR, the players gain more and more confidence as the music becomes increasingly intense and forward-oriented, representing one's mental state through continued learning and success. Several phrases contain rather virtuosic gestures, channeling the discipline of a performance degree in saxophone. Additionally, the harmony progresses from a more dissonant and tonally vague world towards a much more recognizeable form of jazz-tinted tonality in a quest for a more "perfect" harmony in life.
The fundamental motive of VIGOR, B-A-A-E, stems from the word BALANCE, with the C removed to prevent the familiar triadic sound from immediately dominating the harmonic language of the piece. Much of the material in VIGOR develops from that motive, and its plentiful and varied transformations reflect an equally varied personal journey. Finally, the piece concludes with a joyous celebration of achieving a personal balance and consistently being able to excel in one's profession. —BJH