Three Episodes is a set of miniatures for soprano saxophone and electric guitar. Modified repetition of relatively simple musical materials takes the place of full-scale development in each of the three short movements of the work. Although each may stand on its own, there is an abstract motivic relationship between each episode as well as an overall tonal plan that guides the entire work from beginning to end.
In the first episode, Twitch, the guitar presents twitchy motives throughout most of the movement while the saxophone repeats simple gestures consisting of scooped and sustained pitches and a single multiphonic. The two instruments briefly exchange material as the guitar transforms the sustained gestures into distorted power chords.
The second episode, i, is a very slow and freely conceived three-phrase period in D Ionian. The saxophone presents long lyric yet leapy lines over the guitar’s simple chordal accompaniment.
The last episode, Spasm, takes its inspiration from a combination of raga and rock-and-roll. The saxophone and guitar exchange short, fast seven-note units that expand to longer repeated lines presented in unison. Power chords return as the saxophone reaches a registral climax leading to a loud unison finish.
Three Episodes was commissioned by the Creviston-Fader Duo.
“On the quieter side, Three Episodes by Greg Wanamaker has a playful, jazzy feel to it that I admired, as do a lot of Wanamaker’s works…”
Daniel Coombs, Audiophile Audition
February 20, 2014