Instrumentation: alto sax, piano
Written for Kenneth Tse who premiered the work on March 6, 2010 at the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Biennial Conference (Athens, GA)
Winner of the 2014 6th Biennial International J.D. Robb Composition Competition.
Buffalo Dance for alto saxophone and piano is based on an Indian chant of the same name
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.