Alternation I (1984)
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Description by the Composer
«This work is improvisational in character; to be more precise, one might say that it is intended to tackle the question of "controlled improvisation".
«As suggested by the title Alternation, with the exception of several short passages, the alto saxophone and the marimba are constantly confronted throughout the work by the problems posed by the concept of controlled improvisation. The "alternation" referred to in the title involves each of the two players taking turns to perform determinate passages written by the composer to which the other player has respond improvisationally. The main problem posed to each player by the piece is thus that of how to shape his improvisation. It is essential if the composer's intentions in this work are to be realised that each player improvises employing figures which approximate those notated in the score.
«This concept of improvisation controlled by means of imitative musical figures thus involves the positive and creative participation of the performers in the shaping of the work's stylistic unity. This is another latent theme underlying the work.»
Maki Ishii, 1998