Babbitt – Concerto for Saxophone(s) and Orchestra - 2006
(S.Sax / *2*2*2*2 / 2221 / T / Perc / Traps / Pno / Hrp / Strings)
Composed for Wallace Halladay and the Esprit Orchestra, funded by the Ontario Arts Council
Premiere: May 18, 2006, Jane Mallet Theater, Toronto/Ontario, Esprit Orchestra, Alex Pauk - Conductor, Wallace Halladay - Saxophones
“His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April, 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the calling of selling houses for more than people could afford to pay.
-from Sinclair Lewis' novel “Babbitt”, 1922
Babbitt (the music that is) is a reflection of G.F. Babbitt the
character, rather than the narrative of
the book. I find Babbitt's character to be quite interesting.
Although he is a shallow conformist, whose self-worth is always
related to the status quo, he feels genuine emotions of love,
passion, loneliness, and despair.
The multiplicity of his character speaks well to a concerto for multi-instrumentalist, as I was able to focus each saxophone on a different quality of his personality. The Baritone sells houses for more than they are worth, the tenor is frustrated at the world, the alto is the lonely hero and the soprano dreams of the fairy child.
Kokoro Dance Ensemble: Startling, Breathtaking, Stunning
Tom Graff, The Vancouver Observer, March 23, 2009
"Luminous, virtuosic, gleaming music and dancers engaging in improv mode with saxophonist-dancer. Scott Good, Vancouver composer and composer in residence for the VSO, having written a mid-life crisis scenario Saxophone Concerto for Wallace Halladay, also knows how to construct a work that sounds improvised but is expertly Big Band jazzy yet abstract and conceptual, even romantic, concert music. Hardly near a mid-life themselves, but able to portray from the foresight of their youth, Good and Halladay offered a platform for Jay Hirabayashi to embody the crisis head on, even sweetly dancing with this young saxophonist, articulating innocuously the soloist’s mind. And the strings and harp accompanied, but this was no waltz."
His large head was pink, his brown hair thin and dry. His face was babyish in slumber, despite his wrinkles and the red spectacle-dents on the slopes of his nose. He was not fat but he was exceedingly well fed; his cheeks were pads, and the unroughened hand which lay helpless upon the khaki-colored blanket was slightly puffy. He seemed prosperous, extremely married and unromantic; and altogether unromantic appeared this sleeping-porch, which looked on one sizable elm, two respectable grass-plots, a cement driveway, and a corrugated iron garage. Yet Babbitt was again dreaming of the fairy child, a dream more romantic than scarlet pagodas by a silver sea.”