Of Song and Touch

A passionate, exciting, and lyrical duet.

(Euphonium and Piano).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2011)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
For Robert Benton.
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".




View page one of the score to
Of Song and Touch
for euphonium and piano


view score


Listen to an audio clip of
Of Wind and Touch

for baritone saxophone and piano


Listen to an audio clip of
Of Air and Touch
for oboe and piano

Listen to an audio clip of
Of Breath and Touch
for bassoon and piano



Purchase this score

Score and part available from Activist Music:
$25.00 print; $17.00 digital.





Of Song and Touch is a passionate and exciting piece for a euphonium and piano duo, and offers an adventurous wind player a broad range of music to explore within a single movement. This sonata is an adaptation of my 1999 bassoon and piano work, Of Breath and Touch. Not all pieces lend themselves to new incarnations, but thanks to the interest of Robert Benton, this one turned out to be particularly well suited to the intensities and range of the euphonium.


At the time I began composing Of Breath and Touch, I happened to be listening to works by the French composers Ravel, Debussy and Satie as well as to traditional music from Egypt and Turkey. There are unexpected parallels in the types of minor scales used by each country's musicians, as well as between the disparate cultures' use of reed instruments. Western reed instruments are remarkably well suited for some of the long, floating melodies that are often heard in Middle Eastern music, usually played by wind instruments like the ney or the mizmar.


While I couldn't easily explore microtonality in a duet that strongly features the all-too-well tempered piano, I did reference the driving rhythms of some Middle Eastern music in a hypnotic and ostinatic piano part that's fun to play, and the reed writing showcases the extraordinary range and tone of the instrument in the hands of a fine player. The result is a uniquely American piece that is informed by other cultures. The title refers to the nature of each instrument, as well as to a more sensual pair of pleasures.


Beck and Call CD
The bassoon and piano version of this piece, Of Breath and Touch, is featured on Carolyn Beck's 2005 CD, Beck and Call, on Crystal Records CD 846. Click CD for more info.  


"...Alex Shapiro’s short fantasy Of Breath and Touch... This piece imaginatively couples a Middle-Eastern-style moto perpetuo from the keyboard with a melody of long-held notes from the bassoon. Following an introspective central section, it revisits the busy opening as a brief coda."

Fanfare Magazine, May/June 2006


"The disc opener [of Alex Shapiro's] "Of Breath and Touch" is delicate and nervous, like a fine race horse...".

International Record Review, March 2006



"First we hear Alex Shapiro's "Of Breath and Touch." She uses essentially middle-eastern influences in melody, through the bassoon, and rhythm, through the piano. The effect of the ostinato role of the piano, if not the whole piece, is hypnotic. Beck states a somber melody in the beginning then again later in the piece, followed by long sustained passages in different registers that build and recede with intensity. All this is occurring while the piano asserts various harmonies below–sometimes insistently, sometimes agitated, and sometimes as if in a state of delirium."

American Record Guide, May/June 2006




""Of Breath and Touch" has Middle-Eastern influences, with bassoon chants, plaintive phrases and anxious activity above consoling piano ostinatos...Carolyn Beck explores the full extent of the instrument's character... on this extremely inviting disc."

The Gramophone, May 2006




Email Alex for the access code
to download a perusal score!


download perusal score



Enjoy this video of bassoonist Ryan M. Hare
and pianist Gerald Berthiaume
performing the original version of this piece,
OF BREATH AND TOUCH, in February 2013,
on a concert of Alex Shapiro's music during her visit
as the resident composer for the
Festival of Contemporary Art Music (FOCAM),
at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington:



Of Song and Touch, page 1  
Of Song and Touch page 1
Of Song and Touch, page 9    
Of Song and Touch page 9


Also available as:


Of Wind and Touch

(for Baritone Saxophone and Piano).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2006)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
Commissioned in 2006 by saxophonist Brandon Masterman
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".


Audio clip of "Of Wind and Touch" performed by Brandon Masterman, baritone saxophone, and Henry Orazi, piano.


Audio clip of "Of Breath and Touch" performed by Carolyn Beck, bassoon and Delores Stevens, piano.

Of Air and Touch

(for Oboe and Piano).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2001)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".


Of Breath and Touch

(for Bassoon and Piano).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2006)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".







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