of Light and Shadows

of Light and Shadows is a sonata in two very contrasting movements that reflect on the interactions between light and light’s shadow-creating obstructors.

The first movement, Luminant Shadows, is a quiet nocturne in arch form, which makes use of some of the unique extended timbres of the saxophone and extreme ranges of the piano as shroud to more traditional musical materials also contained in the movement.

The second movement, Flickering Beams, Perpetual Wind, is a very fast perpetuum mobile. Imagine, if you like, a straightened-out cyclone: streams of objects pass a flickering light at rapid and potentially destructive speed as if propelled forward by a constant wind.

of Light and Shadows is my second sonata for alto saxophone and piano, composed fifteen years after my first, Sonata deus sax machina. It was commissioned by a consortium of saxophonists initiated by pianist Liz Ames.

of Light and Shadows was completed in Potsdam, NY on July 29, 2015.


Stephen Page and Cameron Hofmann perform Gregory Wanamaker’s of Light and Shadows at Bates Recital Hall, Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin on October 28, 2016


January 16, 2016 at the 2016 Navy Band Symposium, Goodson Recital Hall, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA, by Doug O'Connor, saxophone and Liz Ames, piano.


alto saxophone



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