Tigers and Lilies (1979)
twelve saxophones

Robert Morris

Program Notes

I chose the title Tigers and Lilies for this work for twelve saxophones since it suggests the dual nature of the saxophone--at once a jazz and classical instrument. I wanted to write music that would provide an intersection between these two aspects of the instrument and suggest references to both jazz and classical art music in the process. Thus there are passages that allude to music from the stage band, bee-bop, and free jazz idioms juxtaposed with textures and processes more readily affiliated with American post-tonal music.

The work is scored for three quartets, each consisting of a soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone, arranged as such on the stage. In addition, the three trios of like instruments provide another way of projecting textural strands. Longer solos for the middle quartet provide still other ways to partition the ensemble. Such cross associations are also followed up in the way musical materials are distributed throughout the ensemble. Various musical processes temporally unfold in counterpoint or juxtaposition, or simply mingle together generating a musical form that bifurcates and recontracts into a (boisterous but friendly) maze of colorful gesture.

Tigers and Lilies was written in 1979 and first performed by students of Marshal Taylor at the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts.