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Under the Veil

Nigel Wood


Sheet Music

PDF E-Edition:





Solo Sop Sax, 2222/0000/2111 Hp. Perc.




From the composer: This was one of my first compositions, written for my sax quartet, “Saxtet”, whilst busking through Germany in the early 90’s. It was originally scored for soprano, baritone and percussion with ample opportunity for improvisation. It has been through several manifestations since then, including an arrangement for clarinet and orchestra performed by BBC 2 Young Musician of the Year, Sally Harrop, and the BBC Concert orchestra.

This was followed by an arrangement for soprano sax and sax choir, premiered by John Harle and Saxophonia in 1995; in a slightly amended form, this arrangement appears regularly in the concert programmes of the National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain. I arranged another version for soprano sax and orchestra in 1997, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 with soloist Gerard McChrystal and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

“Veil” has a universal appeal as it has been well received by audiences in diverse settings – from the concert hall of New Zealand’s International Arts Festival to the longhouses of the Bidayuh tribesman in the jungle of Borneo, but perhaps the performance closest to its Eastern origins was with the Symphony Orchestra in Azerbaijan.

Despite the work’s various metamorphoses, the imagery behind all the arrangements (and that veil!) has remained constant – the charm and mystery of a sultry woman from Eastern climes.

The E-Edition PDF bundle comes with the following:
Solo Bb Saxophone or Bb Clarinet
Flute 1
Flute 2
Clarinet in Bb
Bass Clarinet in Bb
Percussion 1 (Guiro)
Percussion 2 (Finger cymbals or triangle, tam-tam or crash cymbal)
Violin 1
Violin 2
Double Bass

“Under the Veil” is also available in hard-copy from June Emerson Wind Music.


This is a very well written piece for the saxophone and orchestra. The soprano-saxophone part is very idiomatic for the instrument’s potential. To me it sounds like a kind of “seguedilla” or “bolero” with a mystic, oriental flavour. The orchestral voicings and harmony are excellently suited to support the solo part, and also providing a haunting and passionate mood. The dissonant pizzicatos in the lower strings are very effective, and the harp part is also contributing to the overall mood. This is a very original and passionate piece of music.
Harald Gundhus, Scorch Reviewer

A new solo saxophone work is always exciting, and Under the Veil (written for Gerard McChrystal) fulfils all one’s expectations. The rhythmic motif which the percussion maintain throughout the work, the use of the harp, and well-conceived orchestration support the line and enhance its brilliant moments. The quiet ending lets the excitement of the writing disappear into the distance….. This promises to be a much-liked and well-used composition in the future.
Angela Fussell, CASS, Autumn 1997

… a nicely scored short piece which lived up to its title.
Stephen Trier, CASS, Autumn 1997

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