Welcome to Alex Ehredt Music
Winner, James E. Croft Grant for Young and Emerging Composers (2022)
Finalist, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award (2022)
Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble is dedicated to Bill Garton, who, is not only my first saxophone teacher, but also the greatest educator with which I have had the pleasure of studying. When approaching this final piece in my academic career, I was immediately brought back to where my music studies began, as a freshman in high school sitting in Mr. Garton’s basement struggling to once again play a C Major scale, and wondering how I was going to ever learn 11 more. When I approached this final project in my academic career, I was inspired by how much I viewed the completion of this degree as a defining element of who I was as a person. In today’s society, we are often defined by what we do and what we have accomplished. This concerto represents a person’s retrospection (more specifically my own) throughout the journey in the early part of their career and how they begin to define themselves within their field. The piece is separated into three movements (fast-slow-fast) performed without pause, each having its own unique tile that, when put together, forms one of the many quotes Mr. Garton would regularly say to me as a young saxophonist, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” This single quote has stuck with me throughout my entire academic career and helped me to believe that I could have the career in music that I wanted. It is Mr. Garton’s dedication to music and his students that has inspired me to educate and inspire the next generation of musicians.
From a musical standpoint, my goal with this concerto is to gracefully combine virtuosity with accessibility for both the performers and audience members in order to portray this retrospective journey. To achieve this portrayal, each of the three movements is governed by its own motive that develops as the movement progresses; each motive returns multiple times throughout the entire work until the piece culminates at the very end of the third movement with the soloist playing a hybridization of the first and third movement motives. This merging of old and new motives symbolizes looking back to my time with Mr. Garton and realizing that without his inspiration, I would not be where I am today. In the first movement, I utilize a four chord progression that repeats throughout the movement; however, the harmonic progression is often reordered or truncated. The fourth chord, which serves as a quasi-resolution to the progression, is often presented in a manner that subdues its resolving qualities; either through omission, orchestration, or by the addition of dissonant pitches. The goal of the second movement is to highlight the soloist and give their voice a chance to be heard through the utilization of long, un-metered sections which allows the saxophonist to shape the music how they see fit. The solo line in the music of the second movement rises and falls, and utilizes large leaps; however, partway through, the principal wind players come in with the rising motivic line which helps to lift the saxophonist up and propel them along into the third movement. The third movement opens with a full orchestration of the motive from the second movement. This opening gives way to a fully formed melody that, throughout the movement, gets modulated and passed around the ensemble to different soloists that either perform the line alone or in tandem with the saxophonist. This is done to represent the acknowledgement that our journeys in our early careers would not be possible without the help from those around us.