Under the Veil
Composer’s note: 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.
This most recent sax quartet arrangement was written for the album “Bach & Beyond”, recorded by the Paragon Saxophone Quartet.
The E-Edition PDF bundle comes with the following parts:
Percussion 1 – guiro
Percussion 2 – finger cymbals & tam-tam
“Under the Veil” is also available in hard-copy from June Emerson Wind Music.
Many years ago I was in Nigel Wood’s middle room where Saxtet held their regular rehearsals. He showed me a line or so of a new piece that he had recently written and I fell in love with it in that instant. I am a big fan of Veil having performed it at least 100 times. The work never fails to move people and its beauty is in its simplicity. The opening bari line is hypnotic and when the soprano comes in with the main theme, Veil begins to weave its magical spell.
Gerard McChrystal – Clarinet & Saxophone Magazine, Summer 2006