Instrumentation: Amp. soprano sax & stereo electronics
Commission Susan Fancher
Premiere of this version
NASA (North American Saxophone Conference)
This version of For the Fallen, for soprano saxophone and electronics, was commissioned by Susan Fancher. The original, for trumpet and electronics, was commissioned by Ivano Ascari, to whom it is dedicated. After discussing the project with him, I decided to take my inspiration from, and create the electronics from, recordings of the Capana dei Cauditi (Bell for the Fallen) in Rovereto, Italy, his home town. Later called Maria Dolens, the bell was originally cast from canons melted after World War I and is one of the largest ringing bells in the world. Built between 1918 and 1925, to commemorate the fallen in all wars, it is rung daily in their memory. The bell has been recast twice, and the current one is located on Colle di Miravalle, overlooking the city of Rovereto. While the political situation changes in its particulars, the topic is still all too timely, and I composed For the Fallen while thinking both of those who fell in World War I, and those who have continued to fall in war since then.
The saxophone part sometimes blends with the bell sounds, ringing for the fallen, at other times it rises in mourning, even wild keening, before closing with a sense of resignation. The original bell recordings were kindly provided by engineer Marco Olivotto. In performance, the sound of the sax should be blended with that of the electronics. Susan Fancher gave the premiere of this version at the North American Saxophone Conference. For more information, visit www.judithshatin.com. –JS