In 2011, Hong Kong saxophonist, Kevin Ling commissioned the composer to write a new work for the less common combination of sopranino saxophone and piano, and was premièred at the 2012 World Saxophone Congress. Composer Nigel Wood (also a saxophonist and soprilloist) and Kevin have been involved in numerous musical collaborations over the past few years, in the UK and Hong Kong. This piece is the culmination of these projects. The title 'Man-Mou' was inspired by the two types of Cantonese Opera plays. 'Mou' plays emphasize war, conflict and strife. In contrast, 'Man' plays tend to be gentler, more elegant and poetic. 'Man-Mou' is not intended to be programmatic or imitative of Cantonese Opera, rather an evocation of the myriad of musical styles and instruments (both Western and Eastern) that have influenced Cantonese music. The ornaments are only suggestions allowing the performer to embellish in a quasi improvisatory style. After a brief introduction, the main theme (Man), a coquettish, lyrical melody follows. This evolves into a more tense, jazz/funk section (Mou). A restorative calm leads to a peaceful ending.
Man-Mou was originally written for sopranino sax & piano, but the composer has done an arrangement for saxophone quartet (SATB) with the alto saxophone taking the solo part as well as this sax ensemble version.