Nickitas Demos

Cathedrals of Air

Cathedrals of Air (2012)

Nickitas Demos

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Duration: 7'

Commissioned by Athanasios Zervas

When saxophonist Athanasios Zervas asked me to compose a piece for alto sax and organ duo, I felt a bit of trepidation at the outset. It is a relatively uncommon pairing of instruments and I was a bit unsure of how to proceed initially. However, in thinking about the combination, it occurred to me that of all the woodwind instruments, the saxophone is probably best suited to hold its own against the mighty organ.  After all, it is just another metal pipe filled with air. I therefore set about writing this small work, in terms of duration, that nevertheless feels as if it were on a grand scale. This grandeur is in keeping with size of sounds produced by both members of the duo. The music is abstract, filled with contrasts of energy, lyricism and towering open sonorities. I was not following any specific programmatic element in writing the piece save for its title. The notion of large “cathedrals” of air was a thought that came mid-way through the writing process and is a concept that ultimately defined my relationship with the instruments. Although concieved of as a saxophone/organ duo, I have subsequently made an alto sax/piano version as well.