(cliffs) that run up and down the windward coast of O‘ahu form perhaps the most impressive natural features on all of the island. These steep slopes and rock faces stand thousands of feet tall in some places and serve as reminders of cataclysmic events that took place ages ago, when half of the Ko’olau volcano collapsed into the sea. Sliding into the Sea
, a concerto for saxophone and concert band, is a musical reflection on these geological events, separated into five sections.
Slopes and Summits: The opening section of the concerto portrays the gentle and smooth slopes of mountain peaks, with chords fading in and out of each other much as one mountain summit gives way to another, while the saxophone sings above.
Rumbling and Rocking: A small fissure emerges in the rock, and the earth begins to shake. The crack grows and spreads, with vibrations reverberating through the ensemble.
Slipping and Sliding: The instruments’ falling gestures imitate the crumbling of rock, and the cascading of earth and stones down the mountain.
Collapse and Cadenza: The fractured mountain, having given way to gravity, falls heavy into the sea. From this enormous impact emerges the saxophone, playing alone.
Withdrawing Waves: Recovering from the tumult, the sea rocks back and forth, creating liquid peaks and valleys. Balance returns in the changed landscape.
Sliding into the Sea
was commissioned by the Pacific Composition Project with support from R.E.A.C.H. Out Hawaii, the Kawananakoa Middle School Band (Jason Chin, director), NEA Challenge America, and the Hawaii Saxophone Foundation. The piece is dedicated to saxophonist Harvey Pittel, conductor Jason Chin and the students of Kawananakoa Middle School’s Band.