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BUFFALO DANCE

Date: 2009
Duration: 7.5 minutes
Instrumentation: alto sax & piano
Premiere: March 3–6, 2010. Kenneth Tse (sax). North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Biennial Conference. Athens, GA.
Notes: Named winner of the 2014 6th Biennial International J.D. Robb Composition Competition.


(Saxophonist Dustin Hunter and pianist Tzufeng Liu performing)

Buffalo Dance for alto saxophone and piano is based on an Indian chant of the same name (recorded in New Mexico in 1954 by John Donald Robb and archived at the Robb Field Recordings on the Center for Southwest Research website). The piece is essentially a fantasy freely using fragments and motifs from the chant. At the work’s opening, the piano serves as a accompanimental drum to the saxophone’s winding melodies, which are peppered with melodic fragments from the chant. This rambunctious opening gives way to other musical reflections of the chant, including a more meditative middle section. The final section is marked by a return to the opening material with the piano reverting to its drumming duties and the saxophone exhibiting even wilder reflections on the chant. Buffalo Dance was written for and dedicated to saxophonist Kenneth Tse.


"Buffalo Dance" (transcription of original chant)
Listen to the original field recording here.



Performances
—April 11, 2015: Dustin Hunter (sax), University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)
—March 23, 2015: Dustin Hunter (sax), JD Robb Composers’ Symposium (Albuquerque, NM)
—June 28–July 3, 2010: Kenneth Tse (sax), 14th International Saxophone Meeting (Nova Gorica, Slovenia)
—April 27, 2010: Kenneth Tse (sax), University of Delaware
—April 26, 2010: Kenneth Tse (sax), George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)
—April 19, 2010: Kenneth Tse (sax), University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)
—March 6, 2010: Kenneth Tse (sax), North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) 2010 Biennial Conference, University of Georgia (Athens, GA)