Ensemble Type: Alto Saxophone and Piano
Grade Level: Advanced
The French, Scottish, and American fiddle music that found its way to isolated Metis and Indian communities in western Manitoba during the 18th and 19th centuries, has many wonderful stylistic oddities due in part to the lack of recordings, and the isolation of the communities, not found in any other tradition.
Many of these idiosyncrasies are summarized wonderfully in Anne Lederman’s article: “Old Indian and Metis Fiddling In Manitoba: Origins, Structure, and Question of Syncretism” Very briefly, some of these stylistic curiosities include pieces with three or five phrases instead of the usual four, frequent meter changes within one tune, and a high degree of improvisation. These settings for alto saxophone and piano attempt to amplify these unique attributes, while keeping the original melodies and spirit of the pieces present.
Songs of Ebb and Flow can also be seen as a passage through the year of life in early Western Manitoba. Each movement consisting of a glimpse into a different time of the year. From a summer celebration in Haste to the Wedding (traditionally used as the first dance at a wedding.) to the winter solstice of Long Night Moon, all contained within the year’s Ebb and Flow. This piece was commissioned by Gerard Weber.