Breathing Lessons, for sax quartet, takes its name from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Anne Tyler. The music, which ranges from driving and upbeat to languid and subdued, was inspired by the book’s main characters, the long-married Maggie and Ira Moran. Together for 28 years, yet often worlds apart, this ordinary couple delightfully illuminates universal truths about the human condition.
While composing this quartet I considered the interaction of the four “characters,” the roles they play, and the subtle influences each exerts upon the others. Chamber music, whether an ensemble of strings or saxophones, is a web of intricate relationships, perhaps more complex than the marriage so richly described in Anne Tyler’s novel.