The Big Picture

Composer: Fred Frith
Saxophone quartet (SATB) and 2 solo improvisers

The Big Picture, for saxophone quartet and two improvising soloists, was commissioned by the Arte Saxophone Quartet and first performed in Aarau, Switzerland with the composer (electric guitar) and Urs Leimgruber (tenor sax). The piece explores the spaces between traditionally notated music at one end of the spectrum and free improvisation at the other. Between these two polarities are a range of instructions of a more, or then again less, precise nature to all of the players, individually or collectively. Dynamics and timings are determined both in rehearsal and spontaneously during each performance. The piece was recorded in 2008 by the Arte Quartet with Lucas Niggli (percussion) and Katharina Weber (piano) as soloists, and is available on the Intakt label.