• Barry Guy
  • Mobile Herbarium (1992)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Phoenix Arts, Leicester with funds provided by East Midlands Arts

  • Sax4tet
  • 22 min

Programme Note

Mobile Herbarium was written for the saxophonists Evan Parker, Stan Sulzmann, Ray Warleigh and Julian Arguelles. The title comes from Max Ernst's painting/collage (1920) which portrays seven plant-like species traversed by various inclined lines. Having already prepared a graphic representation of my piece with seven columns of possibilities (instrumental combinations / musical tensions / activity / pitch areas / duration etc. subject to Le Corbusier's 'Modular') and (yes!), inclined lines to indicate these variables, I found a ready resonance in Ernst's collage. The title and collage somehow encompassed many of the areas I wished to examine in this work. Within the piece there is a mobile (part IV) so the title seemed even more appropriate.

The movements are as follows:

I. Soprano solo (for Ray Warleigh) with two tenors and baritone
II. Four sopranos ensemble
III. Tenor solo (for Stan Sulzmann)
IV. Sop/Alto/Ten/Bari ensemble
V. Soprano solo (for Evan Parker) with Tenor
VI. Sop/Alto/Ten/Bari ensemble, MOBILE
VII. Baritone solo (for Julian Arguelles) with three sopranos

© Barry Guy