Do Not Stop on the Highway to View Fire (2019)
soprano saxophone, piano
Written for Misato Hanawa
Misato Hanawa, soprano saxophone
Aki Matsumoto, piano
Do Not Stop on the Highway to View Fire was written for the wonderful saxophonist and friend, Misato Hanawa. The inspiration of the piece drew from the summer of 2018 in Aspen, Colorado. There was a huge mountain fire near where I was staying, and for the highway traffic to move smoothly, the sign “Do not stop on the highway to view fire” had been put up. This sign did not stop the drivers to stop the car to view the mountain fire at all, and rather worsened the situation. Drivers were stopping to see this sign as well, hence creating a bigger traffic jam on the highway. I found the long sign and the random slowdown quite amusing and wanted to write a piece that reflects the experience. The piece has a lot of stop and start motion throughout the piece, but still projects a forward motion, which reflects the traffic. The piece lives in a world with lively and playful sounds. Having written for Misato Hanawa before, I wanted to encapsulate her flawless technique and athletic yet colorful sound in the piece. Both the saxophone and piano parts are written quite virtuosically and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to enrich my understanding of the instrument and work with a fantastic musician such as Misato Hanawa.
– Nicky Sohn