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Desert Notes

(Oboe, Bassoon and Piano).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2001)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 20 pages, 8.5" x 11".

Premiered in 2005 by ensemble Green, Los Angeles, CA.


Also available as:

Desert Run

(Oboe, Clarinet and Piano).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2007)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 20 pages, 8.5" x 11".

Premiered in 2007 by Julia Heinen, Richard Kravchak and Shari Raynor, Los Angeles, CA.


Desert Passage

(Violin, Cello and Piano)
(Violin, Tenor Saxophone and Piano)
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2001)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 20 pages, 8.5" x 11".

Premiered at the World Saxophone Congress, July 2003
by The Cleveland Duo & James Umble: Stephen Warner, violin; Carolyn Gadiel Warner, piano and James Umble, tenor saxophone.


Desert Waves

(5 string Electric Violin and Electronic soundscape on CD).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2001)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
Commissioned in 2001 by violinist Sabrina Ann Berger.
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".

Premiered in 2003 by violinist Sabrina Ann Berger.


Desert Tide

(Soprano Saxophone and Electronic soundscape on CD).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2005)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".

Premiered by Douglas Masek, September 2005 in Cape Town, South Africa. Recorded by Douglas Masek, July 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Audio clip performed by Douglas Masek.

Audio clip performed by Douglas Masek.


Desert Thoughts

(Flute, Clarinet and Piano).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2008)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 20 pages, 8.5" x 11".

Premiered in May 2009 by Palisades Virtuosi.

 

 

 

Desert Tide is featured on Douglas Masek's 2007 CD, Saxtronic Soundscape, on Centaur Records. Click CD for more info.

"...the poignantly lyrical, soaring lines of Alex Shapiro's Desert Tide..."

— Blair Sanderson, All Music Guide, August 2007

You can read the entire review here.

     


View page one of the score to
Desert Notes
for oboe, bassoon and piano

Listen to an audio clip of
Desert Notes
for oboe, bassoon and piano

Watch!

video

_________________
Listen to an audio clip of
Desert Passage
for violin, cello and piano
or violin, tenor sax and piano
hear
_________________
Listen to an audio clip of
Desert Waves
for 5-string electric violin and electronics
hear
_________________
Listen to an audio clip of
Desert Tide
for soprano saxophone and electronics
hear
_________________
Listen to an audio clip of
Desert Thoughts
for flute, clarinet and piano
hear
_________________

Purchase any of these scores

Score and parts available from
Activist Music for $30.00.

buy

 

 

 

Desert Notes is some of the most programmatic music I've composed, to the point where even the score itself contains maniacal little outbursts describing the visions that swept through my mind as the music wrote itself. The scene: the desert's arid stillness and the weight of the morning's expanding heat. A sudden rainstorm overtakes the landscape, forming instant pools of water over the cracked earth. The storm passes as quickly as it arrived, and as the birds and reptiles emerge to greet the fleeting moisture, the music ends as flowers strain upward against the bluest sky for those few passionate moments of their fullest bloom. Ahhh.

Well, none of the above was floating around in my head as I began the first measures; my initial working title had something to do with the ocean and being near it. But just after I started the piece, I took a road trip from my Malibu home to Tucson, Arizona. The drive was meditative, and best of all, the desert was in the full bloom of a May preceded by heavy rainfall. Everywhere I turned there were brilliant flowers bursting from inhospitable looking cactuses and scrub. It was truly beautiful.

 
 

 

All the stunning drives I've taken through deserts came to my senses at once, from a trip across the Sinai on a desolate road, to a trek across Mongolia's Gobi on no road at all. I also thought a lot about the extraordinary ten days I spent alone one July in the Mojave's Death Valley, immersing myself like a madwoman in its intense, 125 degree heat. I was rewarded with an equally intense and welcome inner clarity.

I need the ocean, but I'm fascinated by the desert and all the life it embraces. I returned home to the beach from Tucson four days later, and I finally knew what this music was really about.

 
 
 

Enjoy this video of obooist Angela Schmid, bassoonist Trent Jacobs,
and pianist Casey Dierlam performing Desert Notes in February 2009,
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

 

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