Prestidigitations

Saxophone Nonet (SSAAATTBBs)

(Also adapted for clarinet nonet) 

2016

5' 45"

Prestidigitations is an exciting concert piece inspired by magic illusions. The piece is constructed essentially from one simple idea: a stream of upward-moving notes — in intervals of seconds and thirds — that keeps restarting, creating off-kilter rhythmic patterns.

Prestidigitations is divided into three sections, separated by moments when the saxophones alight on a single note. In the middle section, the single note slowly grows into a series of climaxes, each building in tension until reaching an ultimate "ta-dah" moment. In the final section, the beginning is recalled before the higher saxophones are sent hurtling upward in a never-ending spiral and the low saxes play a raucous conclusion. The stream of intervals occurs at several moments in the piece, and was written with an auditory illusion in mind: the Shepard glissando.

The word "prestidigitation" is a synonym for "sleight of hand." Perhaps it is a household word for some magicians, but not many others. Plus, it's not easy to say! I first learned the word from my wife, who had just heard it on a TV show and was having a very hard time repeating it! I was no help since I hadn't even heard it before. In light of this humorous and endearing memory, the middle section of the piece prominently features a "stuttering" rhythm.

Purchase the score:

Prestidigitations score & parts (physical copy)

Prestidigitations score & parts (physical copy)

$80.00Price
Prestidigitations score & parts (digital files)

Prestidigitations score & parts (digital files)

$70.00Price

(Video excerpt begins on p. 14)

Performances:

  • LUCA School of Performing Arts, Leuven, Belgium
      March 29, 2018

  • (Version for Clarinet Nonet): Robert Spring and the Arizona State University Clarinet Ensemble, SCI Region VII Conference, Arizona State University
      October 13, 2017

Paul Nolen and the Illinois State University Saxophone Ensemble:

March 11, 2016

  • Red Note New Music Festival, Illinois State University

April 7, 2016

© 2018 by Joshua Keeling. All rights reserved.

  • w-facebook
  • Twitter Clean
  • Soundcloud Clean
  • LinkedIn Clean