Premiered by the Virginia Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble in Carnegie Hall, New York on April 9, 2013 conducted by David McKee
I wrote the original Groovy Loops for saxophone quartet just a few years after college. After writing a piece, I usually move on to other projects and try to leave older ones alone, even if I later think of some things I could’ve done differently or better. I have also shied away from rearranging pieces for instrumentation that differs from the original, since I typically consider the orchestration or color of a new piece as inseparable from other musical elements like melody, harmony, or texture.
But for some reason, ʻGroovy Loopsʼ is a piece I’ve revisited a couple of times. A few years ago, I arranged it for string orchestra so I could devote more time to explore the unfamiliar territory of string sounds and less on writing new material. Once that was done, I once again put the piece aside I figured I was done tinkering with it. Deep down, however, I always thought it would work well in a full band setting.
I got the chance when Dave McKee wrote me and asked if I had a short piece for the Virginia Tech Symphonic Wind Ensembleʼs upcoming performance at Carnegie Hall. I didn’t feel like I had anything in my catalogue that would appropriately ﬁll the spot, but offered up the suggestion to arrange an older piece. It seemed appropriate for a number of reasons: the ensemble was looking for a piece to buffer a slow piece from a full symphony, there was only a few minutes to spare before the program became too long, and since I had only a month to meet deadline, the option of writing something completely new was dangerous to say the least.
In adapting a saxophone quartet for wind ensemble, I obviously expanded the color palette, but also added a few moving lines, percussive effects, and richer harmonies that were unavailable to the smaller ensemble. I also added a couple of modulations to accommodate some specific instrumental range issues. Finally, I lengthened opening and closing sections and incorporated silences that “bookend” the piece a little more substantively than the original.
This arrangement is dedicated to my mentor, teacher, and friend David McKee.
Available now from Kjos Music