Between Walls is a group of songs on the poems of William Carlos Williams for soprano voice, soprano saxophone and piano. Within each movement, the music helps describe the text or set the mood of each of the movements.
The first movement, Between Walls, is solemn, without joy or humor, quiet in nature and thoughtful. In the text, “where nothing will grow”, the last pitch on “grow” is much higher than the previous pitches, as if it were to “grow”. The soprano and the saxophone are unison on “In which” and then move apart a step and a third on “shine the” ending with a dissonant minor 2nd on the word “broken”, playing upon the text.
Young Woman at a Window is for soprano and piano alone. This movement is also quite dissonant and the piano sustains that tonality by using pedal through out. The soprano sings in the lower tessitura while the piano moves slowly between major thirds and minor seconds to minor thirds and tritones to the end of the piece, suggesting the sadness of the women, with tears on her cheeks. The listener is left to wonder what she and the child are looking at.
The Nightingales is a contrast to the first two movements. The tonality is more consonant, lyrical in the saxophone line and arpeggiated chords sustained with pedal throughout most of the piano line, promoting a poetic and expressive premise.
In The Thing, the lines move more independently and do not come together as one until the text “bitterly together”, which is unison, to the last line moving apart to the M3rd.
As the Cat is sprightly and jaunty, the piano and saxophone placing the beats in an unexpected manner, the soprano a bit disjunctive at times, just as how a cat might work it’s way carefully over obstacles to find it’s way to it’s final destination.
parts included: Score (2), Soprano Saxophone