Todd Goodman’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra is a substantial three movement work scored for solo alto saxophone and orchestra. The work is a traditional three movement concerto yet with the second and third reversed. The first movement is a slow agitated march that creates an argument between the orchestra and soloist. As the conversation progresses and the tension between the two entities escalates, the soloist in an acrobatic tour of the instrument finally wins the last word in a cadenza summarizing what was just heard and foreshadowing what is to come. The cadenza moves right into the second movement, a jovial fanfare. This fun movement again gives the soloist an aerobic workout while continuing a more civilized conversation with the orchestra.
During this time in the composing process the composer lost a very special member of his family, his Saint Bernard “Snuffy.” The last movement of this concerto is her elegy. It tells of the story of the Rainbow Bridge:
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; Her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
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