From the recording Allegro vivace (Finale)
Concerto#2 (Quasi improvvisando) for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra
While the Concerto Quasi Improvvisando embodies the essential elements associated with a concerto in its traditional generic form, it is firmly rooted in the contemporary styles of rock and jazz music. The saxophone, because of its unique affinity for these pop music styles, is the perfect choice as protagonist for the piece. Improvisation had been an important element of musical style in the Baroque and Classical periods, particularly in cadenza passages of concerto movements, but this practice eventually died out. Later composers, possibly fearing what might become of their work in the hands of others, allowed no such latitude to the performer, preferring to meticulously complete all such solo passages, leaving nothing to chance. This concerto, while it is fully worked out in all its structural parts such as form, orchestration, and harmonic language, leaves ample room for the skilled virtuoso to display his art in passages specially composed for that purpose.
The Concerto Quasi Improvvisando is cast in the traditional three-movement form. The last movement, Allegro vivace, uses thematic material associated with contemporary Hispanic music. The main theme launches into a characteristically rhythmic ritornello bases on parallel minor seventh chords, followed by a lyrical melody stated in the saxophone part. An episode leads to the codetta in the relative major key. The development that follows is an orchestral passage in 5/4 meter, strongly evocative of certain streets in Los Angeles. A transitional episode leads back to the main theme, this time involving extended improvisation in the solo part. The movement climaxes with an unresolved final statement of the ritornello in full orchestral color, bringing the concerto to an exciting finale.
The Concerto Quasi Improvvisando was first performed in concert on Nov.6, 2004 by saxophonist Gary Herbig with the composer conducting the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Herbig has also performed the concerto in an arrangement for concert band with Steve Piazza conducting the Los Angeles Symphonic Winds.
Mr. Herbig has given these comments regarding the piece: “Although I'm a musical prodigy and a professional member of The American Federation of Musicians since I was 14, and have enjoyed a long and if I may say illustrious career in the music business, no one ever wrote a Concerto for me, booked me on a symphony orchestra concert or requested my biography until the composer James Domine came into my life! The Concerto Quasi Improvvisando that Maestro Domine wrote for me is a perfect fit for my style of solo saxophone playing. Since it's premiere I have performed it for enthusiastic audiences of over 50,000 people at Warner Park in Woodland Hills, California, also the California State Music Educators Conference in Fresno, and in my hometown with the Missoula, Montana City Band. It's a wonderful piece of music in three movements, and I feel a great personal connection to the Concerto and Maestro and Composer James Domine.” Gary Herbig has been recognized as BILLBOARD MAGAZINE TOP-TEN JAZZ ARTIST. For more information about Herbig, visit his web site at www.garyherbig.com.
This archival recording features Gary Herbig, alto saxophonist with James Domine conducting the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra.