Three Mobiles

Length / year

12' - 2001


soprano saxophone and piano


Three Mobiles started out for saxophone and piano. The orchestral version, actually for string orchestra, was made in 2003 when the work was revised. A further revision was made in 2006. The title refers to sculptures known as mobiles - Calder’s celebrated mobiles are an example. In the insert notes, the composer goes into some detail as to how he tried to relate his musical mobiles with those of Calder. The most important thing, however, is the music, although I suppose that close analysis of the score might prove revealing. Suffice to say that in substance Three Mobiles is a concertino for saxophone and strings. It consists of two short, lively outer movements framing a rather more developed, predominantly song-like central movement. Again a quite attractive work that should appeal to saxophone players willing to add to their sadly limited repertoire.
MusicWeb International, January 2008 Hubert Culot

Performance history

World Premiere
Machynlleth Festival
21st August 2001
Gerard McChrystal - saxophone
Dan Moriyama - piano

First Broadcast
(Mobile 2) BBC Radio 3 - Morning Sequence
January 2002
Gerard McChrystal - saxophone
Dan Moriyama - piano

Programme note

These three pieces are based on the same harmonic sequence as my work 'Transports'. Their title is more than a reference to the earlier work however. The harmony is entirely diatonic and moves through a 36-chord sequence with the bass descending each time by a single step. Like a mobile, therefore, the essential stucture remains the same as the surface pattern changes.

The first and third pieces are bright and lively. The long central slow piece is lyrical and romantic in character and refers also to the jazz associations of the saxophone.

This piece was commissioned by Gwyl Machynlleth - Machynlleth Festival with funds made available in part by the Arts Council of Wales. It was first performed on 21st August 2001 by Gerard McChrystal (saxophone) and Dan Moriyama (piano).