for saxophone quartet
Cenotaph was written in 2009 at the request of saxophonist Brian Kauth, who specifically requested an intense, emotional piece along the lines of my aprilmourningmusic for tenor saxophone and prepared piano.
The word cenotaph comes from the Greek and literally means “empty tomb.” A cenotaph is a monument to a person or group whose remains are elsewhere (or whose location is unknown). Perhaps the most famous cenotaph is in the one in Whitehall, London, commemorating the British dead in two world wars. I was living in London in the fall of 2009 and saw this monument several times during the period I was composing this piece. Certainly I had that in mind, but this composition is also a more personal lament, as well, and it does not aim for any martial spirit at all.
Cenotaph is in three main parts: a slow, dramatic opening, a fast, agitated central section with many sudden changes in dynamics and mood, and a final slow section, which uses motives from the opening, but does not recapitulate anything literally.