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Song without Words

for tenor saxophone in B♭, bassoon and piano, by Anthony Ritchie, Opus 220 (2023)

Song without Words was composed on request from Mark Hobson, for the Whēkau Trio: Mark Hobson (saxophone) Craig Bradfield (bassoon), and Alison Holden piano. It was written for their tour in May 2023, and a subsequent recording.

This short piece is lyrical and wistful in character, and was conceived as a song for the instruments. A simple main theme at the start is developed in subsequent sections, with frequent modulations being a feature of the piece. The piano introduces a chordal idea, and a little later picks up the tempo with a melody based on the pattern of major thirds and semitones. The music develops more momentum in the middle section leading to more florid ideas, and a recapitulation of the main theme that is decorated with demisemiquavers. The piano's chordal idea returns at the end, leaving the piece open-ended in terms of the harmony.

Dedicated to Mark Hobson

Duration: 5 minutes approx.