First Light at Uluru for saxophone orchestra (2015) – 8 min.

Score/parts published by the Australian Music Centre
Available now for Australian & international customers as digital download or sheet music can be posted to any country:

NEW First Light at Uluru for Wind Symphony (2016) – 12:30 min.
A new recomposed version for Wind Symphony.
WATCH + INFO of the world premiere in Australia conducted by Dr John Lynch. Also recently performed in Texas, USA.

Program Note for First Light at Uluru for sax orchestra

First Light at Uluru (2015) was commissioned by the Queensland Conservatorium Saxophone Orchestra and Diana Tolmie for world premiere performances at the 2015 World Saxophone Congress featuring 30 saxophonists in Strasbourg, France, Selmer Saxophone Showrooms in Paris, Ulverston in England with the Royal Northern College of Music, and by other ensembles in Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne. First Light at Uluru has since been recomposed for wind symphony for a premiere at the ANBOC festival, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, followed by the Adelaide Wind Orchestra and the US premiere by the Texas Woman’s Wind Symphony. Beaugeais’s newly adapted version for wind symphony was recently recorded by the Royal Australian Navy Band for their 2018 CD “Spirit of Place” with world-renowned didgeridoo player, William Barton. Both versions of First Light at Uluru continue to be performed around the globe, including performances by Professor Kyle Horch and the RCM saxophone orchestra at the Royal College of Music in London and at the NASA Sax Congress in North America.

First Light at Uluru is inspired by the spectacular sunrise over Uluru – Australia’s most famous icon. Also known as Ayers Rock, it is a giant red rock in the middle of Australia’s desert, with the ground made up of red soil. Uluru is sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. Uluru means ‘Earth Mother’, and the 8.6 square kilometre rock is believed to hold a powerful energy source and marks the place where Dreamtime began.

First Light at Uluru begins with soothing air vibrato wind sound effects to reflect the peaceful and spiritual atmosphere of Ayers Rock, where only the soft wind gusts can be heard. As the sun slowly rises, soft, dream-like melodies gradually build up to chorale-like passages, exploring the beautiful, lyrical sounds of the saxophone orchestra. At dawn, the giant red rock changes colour, producing an illuminating red and orange glow. This is conveyed by a fusion of trance-like multiphonic and quarter-tone timbral trill effects that showcase the distinct palette of colours the saxophone orchestra can create. The technical sound possibilities when writing for a large number of saxophones are highlighted when all players improvise over a fast, semiquaver motif to produce a loud, kaleidoscopic, collage-like, textural sound mass that gradually transforms into soft, air wind sound effects.

The compositional aim of First Light at Uluru is to showcase how unconventional contemporary playing techniques can also be used to create unique, calm, expressive and atmospheric passages, rather than in a modernistic style commonly associated with avant-garde repertoire.

© 2015 by Katia Beaugeais


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