Saxophone, piano

Duration: 11 minutes

Commissioned By:
Paul Bro, Northwestern University

September 26, 1998 by Paul Bro, saxophone, and Martha Krasnican, piano, at the World Saxophone Congress, Valencia, Spain

Available From:
Oxford University Press, distributed by Edition Peters. Recordings available: HOLY ROLLER (wind orchestrated version, arr. Boyd) "Symphonies & Such" Paul Bro, Saxophone Indiana State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble Indiana State University Faculty Winds ELF CD 1006 557 East 140th Street Cleveland, OH 44110

Composer's Notes:

The longest running revival meeting in America took place on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California and lasted from 1906 to 1909. Night after night, the Reverend William Seymour preached so passionately that he brought about an ecstatic outpouring from all that were there. They wept, shouted and dropped into dead faints. They spoke in tongues. They jerked uncontrollably. They danced in the aisles. It is said that the Pentecostal movement in the United States was born of this three-year revival meeting.

Holy Roller is inspired by classic revival preaching. To me, revival sermons are stunning musical masterpieces of rhythm, tempo, and extraordinary tension and release. The music flows directly from the language, cajoling, incanting and repeating, at the same time magnetizing and mesmerizing the listener with its irresistible invocations. The music is the language, the language is the music and the result moves the spirit to other states of being.

I love the way the saxophone speaks. Because of its incredible dynamic range and its flexibility a fine performer can make the listener hear words, abstract though they may be. Holy Roller is a revival sermon captured in the sounds of the alto saxophone and piano.

Ava Oaxaca, saxophone; Bora Lee, piano: from a recital on 1/21/17

Score Errata:
measure 144, Piano RH: the last note should be a G-flat to match the ostinato