Joelle Wallach- Sweet Briar Elegies

(soprano sax and piano version)

Written in Sweet Briar, Virginia during the summer of 1992 in the aftermath of the death of the composer's husband, Sweet Briar Elegies is set for soprano saxophone and cello ensemble or soprano saxophone and piano. The two movements are not independent "elegies" but comprise a single elegiac whole. The first movement is a recitative of passionate wistfulness; the second movement, an aria of poignant lyricism and longing with an ominous and disturbing middle section.

The piece bears an epigram from William Blake's Songs of Experience:

... I saw it was filled with graves.
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.
William Blake, Songs of Experience (1794)

Since 1980 when her choral work, On the Beach at Night Alone, won first prize in the Inter-American Music Awards, Wallach has regularly placed first in international composition competitions. Her String Quartet 1995 was the American Composers Alliance nominee for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The New York Philharmonic Ensembles premiered her octet, From the Forest of Chimneys, written to celebrate their 10th anniversary; and the New York Choral Society commissioned her secular oratorio, Toward a Time of Renewal, for 200 voices and orchestra to commemorate their 1994 35th Anniversary Season in Carnegie Hall. To the Fore Publishers is pleased to publish her works for saxophone, which in addition to Sweet Briar Elegies, include Eulogy, for soprano saxophone and string quartet, and the Saxophone Quartet.

Ms.Wallach lives in New York City, where she was born. She was raised there and in Morocco. Her early training in piano, voice, theory, bassoon and violin included study at the Juilliard Preparatory Division, and she earned bachelors and masters degrees at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University respectively. In 1984 the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with John Corigliano, granted her its first doctorate in composition.

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