Conceived of as an homage to the playing of Johnny Hodges, Torch Song takes advantage of the saxophone’s remarkable ability to emulate the lyrical qualities of the human voice. Hodges’ technique, so well suited to ballad playing, relies on the expressive use of vibrato, glissandi, and timbre.
In addition to the technical aspects of Hodges’ playing, Torch Song also makes use of its stylistic devices, one of the most important of which is the dynamic, endemic to the performance of jazz standards, between an ideal musical structure and its incompletely realized or expressively embellished interpretation. The material in Torch Song is underpinned by a simple melodic/harmonic structure that, through the employment of temporal stretching and expressive nuance, should be brought to the brink (but not beyond) of imperceptibility.
Torch Song was premiered by Marcus Weiss on February 1st, 2012 at Northwestern University's Lutkin Hall.
The European premiere was given by Timothy McAllister on July 10, 2015 at the World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg.
This score is currently being revised. Contact me directly to see an older version.