The Sharp End
for saxophone quartet

Composition Date: 2009
Duration: 00:12:00
Genre: Woodwinds, Solo / Ensemble, Misc. Quartets, Similar Instruments


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 4 x Saxophone
Programme Note:
The Sharp End was composed during my 2009-10 residency with the McGill University Saxophone Quartet, under the direction of Abe Kestenberg. Having had ample time to work with the ensemble, to explore their repertoire of music, techniques, and timbres, I set about developing a piece that attempts to take advantage of the “woodwindesque” lyricism andsweetness, as well as the “brassy” power and raucousness of the instruments.

Throughout the work, I sought to emulate the sound and syntax of progressive metal-styleelectric guitar writing, with a preponderance of power chords (open 5ths and their inversions/extensions), ostinati, jagged rhythms, and asymmetrical meters. There is often animplication of a strong backbeat, where an imaginary drumkit would typically carry the rhythmic momentum.

The Sharp End was premiered by the McGill University Saxophone Quartet on March 27, 2010 in Redpath Hall, Montreal, Canada.


Premiere Information:
27 Mars 2010; Redpath Hall, Montréal, QC; McGill University Sax Quartet.


  • Call Number:
  • MI 5145 S779sh
  • Genre:
  • Woodwinds, Solo / Ensemble, Misc. Quartets, Similar Instruments
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • March 15, 2017
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 partition (25 p.) ;
    25 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
    Parts page count: 33
  • Additional Information:
  • Pour Quatuor de Saxophones (Soprano, Alto, Ténor, Baryton).
    En 3 mouvements: I. Prelude -- II. The Story -- III. Epilogue.
    Oeuvre déposée au CMC Québec.
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