Masato Kumoi Saxophone Quartet
On the album David Maslanka: Mountain Roads (2002)
Solo Soprano Saxophone | Solo Alto Saxophone | Solo Tenor Saxophone | Solo Baritone Saxophone
- Chorale: Wo soll ich fliehen
- Aria (in the style of a chorale prelude)
- Finale: Alle menschen mussen sterben
The Transcontinental Saxophone Quartet: Russell Peterson, Marco Albonetti, Amanda Materne, Yiannis Miralis
The music of Mountain Roads is a very personal statement. I feel very deeply about every bit of it. The musical plan of it follows the model a Baroque cantata, and style and content reflect my years of study of the Bach chorales, and of Bach in general. Obviously there are no words in my “cantata” but the music revolves entirely around two chorale melodies. The main one is “Alle menschen mussen sterben” (All men must die) and the second is “Wo soll ich fliehen” (Where shall I run to?).
Movements I, III, IV, V, and VI are all a large evolutionary process on “Alle menschen mussen sterben”. “Wo soll ich fliehen” appears in part in the first movement, and is given it’s full exposition in II. The actual melody of “Alle menschen mussen sterben” does not appear until the four variations of the chorale that end the sixth movement.
The title Mountain Roads comes from a dream that I had while writing this piece. In it I was part of a work crew making new roads in high mountain country. It was springtime, the weather was clear, sunny and comfortable, although there was still snow on the ground. The effect of the place was exhilarating as only mountain wilderness can be. It seemed to me that the dream was a beautiful metaphor for new life and new spiritual opening.
The paradox embodied in this exuberant and uplifting music lies in the title of the main chorale “All men must die”, and further reinforced by the second chorale “Where shall I run to?”. The first title suggests the inevitability of death, but is neither morbid nor about mass destruction. The idea of death is not so much about final end as about change. The process of growth is constantly about “dying” to one way of thinking or feeling, and opening to another. After all is said and done, there is the fact of physical death. The awareness of that fact points up our deep attachment to all the forms of this life. It makes experience of all things both deeply sweet and deeply sad. It also suggests the inevitable release of all the forms that we know, and the movement toward whatever exists beyond form.
Program Note by David Maslanka
Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 118, Recent Performances of Mountain Roads
Maslanka Weekly highlights excellent performances of David Maslanka’s music from around the web. This week, we showcase three extraordinary performances of Mountain Roads.
From the Maslanka Archive – No. 32, Julian Velasco’s Interview of David – Part 2
From the Maslanka Archive features media and stories of David's life and work. This week, we are excited to feature Part 2 of Julian Velasco's interview of David from his home in Missoula, MT in 2016.
Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 84, More Amazing Saxophone Performances
Maslanka Weekly highlights excellent performances of David Maslanka’s music from around the web. This week, we feature three amazing performances of some of David’s best saxophone music: Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Wind Ensemble, "Very Fast" from Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, and "Finale" from Mountain Roads.
Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 82, Shouts of Praise
Maslanka Weekly highlights excellent performances of David Maslanka’s music from around the web. This week, we feature performances of three works that give Shouts of Praise: Hosannas, “Overture” from Mountain Roads, and Morning Star.
Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 58, Mourning
Maslanka Weekly highlights excellent performances of David Maslanka’s music from around the web. This week, we feature three of David’s works that aid us in times of mourning: Requiem, "Finale - Alle Menschen müssen sterben" from Mountain Roads, and In Memoriam.
Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 5, Masato Kumoi Saxophone Quartet
Maslanka Weekly highlights excellent performances of David Maslanka’s music from around the web. This week, we feature the Masato Kumoi Saxophone Quartet with amazing performances of Songs for the Coming Day, Mountain Roads, and Recitation Book.
David Maslanka: Works for Younger Wind Ensembles
Here are more than twenty works for wind ensemble, arranged in approximate ascending order of difficulty, with commentary by David Maslanka
Recording the Wind Ensemble Music of David Maslanka
Mark Morette of Mark Custom Recording shares his extensive experience in recording wind ensembles.
Interview with Russell Peterson
Russell Peterson, professor of saxophone at Lawrence University in Appleton WI, interviewed David Maslanka on 30 November 1998 after premieres of Mountain Roads for saxophone quartet, commissioned and performed by the Transcontinental Saxophone Quartet and [...]