top of page

Duration: c. 18 minutes








Programme Notes:

My CINNAMON CONCERTO was commissioned by and is dedicated to Nobuya Sugawa. The work is cast in three contrasting movements all influenced by various aspects of jazz music as perceived in the popular vernacular:


1. The Fast Lane

The opening movement is cast in sonata form. A solo timpanist opens the piece with a motif that is central to the whole 1st subject material. This is immediately echoed by muted brass, quickly followed by the 1st subject proper in the solo saxophone. This is a quirky idea that is subjected to a series of variations and developments by both band and soloist alike. The 2nd subject is not long in arriving and is a much more lyrical and expressive theme than its counterpart. Thereafter these two ideas are represented in a continually developing essay only interrupted by a very transparently scored section in a somewhat ‘Southern-States sleezy-blues’ fashion accompanied chiefly by a marimba ostinato figuration. The initial mood is returned to and the main subjects passed between each other before a solo cadenza passage leads to a swift conclusion.


2. The Night Hawks

The central slow movement is a gently unfolding cantabile aria. The band apply additional colours in the form of harp, cor anglais and alto clarinet. There are moments of reflection and some sustained climactic moments in both soloist and band alike. Many solo performers emerge from within the band and engage in brief conversations with the soloist. This all builds towards a central outburst (written in the same tempo although it appears aurally to be faster) after which the soloist and band resume the opening material to a final climax followed by a concluding codetta and last sigh (goodbye) from the solo saxophone.


3. The Razzle Dazzle!

The finale is an ‘all-American’ dance-style scherzando played throughout in ‘swing’ idiom. The opening band ritornello provides a reference point between sections and the soon emerging soloist presents his 1st motif soon after. The structure is basically that of a series of interludes where both soloist and band compete for centre stage. The percussion section contribute in an insistent and colourful way throughout and the string bass player (as in all movements in the piece) has much to deliver in order to produce the appropriate style. As the gears continue to increase in velocity we eventually reach a ‘wild’ con bravura cadenza by the soloist which is accompanied by the percussion section only. This is presented in the highest altissimo register of the saxophone and is extremely virtuosic. The opening ritornello makes its final appearance with the soloist in full defiance and the work comes to a dynamic and dramatic conclusion.




Solo Eb Alto Saxophone

Piccolo, Flutes 1.2, Oboes 1.2 (2nd dbl. Cor Anglais), Bb Clarinets 1.2.3, Eb Alto Clarinet, Bb Bass Clarinet, Bassoons 1.2,

Eb Alto Saxophone, Bb Tenor Saxophone, Eb Baritone Saxophone,

Bb Trumpets, F Horns, Trombones 1.2.3, Euphonium, Tuba,

Double Bass, Harp (Opt.),

Timpani, Percussion


Percussion Requirements:

Suspended Cymbal, Side Drum, Suspended Wood Block, Large Suspended Cymbal, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, 2 Tom-toms, Ride Cymbal,

2 Bongoes, Claves, Marimba, Vibraphone, Triangle, Tam-tam, Clashed Cymbals, Kick Bass Drum

Performance Notes:


1: In the parts the 2nd Oboe which doubles Cor Anglais (and only plays in the 2nd movement) is notated along with the 1st Oboe part.


2: The part for Alto Clarinet (which only plays in the 2nd movement) is notated in the 3rd Clarinets part. This part could be played by an additional player (only performing in the 2nd movement) thereby leaving, for balance reasons, all the Clarinet parts (1st, 2nd and 3rd) as two players per part at all times.


3: The Harp part is only for the 2nd movement where this instrument makes its sole entry. Although this part is optional its inclusion will make a huge difference to the colour and texture of the slow movement. If not available it could be played on a suitable synthesizer with the appropriate ‘harp’ setting. Should a Harp be available then a platform position towards the front of the band would help the aural quality.


4: Should a Marimba not be available this could also be performed on a synthesizer as it makes only one entry in the piece. However the visual aspect for the audience of two players playing the same instrument at close quarters could add to their experience at that particular moment.


5: The Double Bass (String Bass) part is very central to this work in all 3 movements and the performer should be given a suitable place on the concert platform to be both fully heard and perhaps also for visual reasons. There could be, for example, a case for placing the String Bass very near the Solo Saxophone in the manner of a ‘jazz-set’.


6: The composer sanctions the use of subtle amplification in this work with regard to the soloist providing that it is discreetly executed and does not interfere with the soloist’s ability to perform – ‘pin’ mikes would be the best option and certainly not ‘normal’ microphones on a stand.


7: In certain circumstances, due to the nature of this work, additional ‘miking’ may be applied to the Harp and String Bass players. This depends on the acoustic properties of individual venues – but it is allowed to view this piece somewhat differently from a ‘classical-concerto’ viewpoint. The idea of a ‘rock-concert’ approach is not anathema to the composer!


8: The works lends itself to various mannerisms and gestures found in the jazz idiom. These are not always easy to notate in a traditional Western Music sense. Therefore it is permissible for bands and conductors to discuss and agree upon suitable interpretations of particular lines and strands. For example the ‘bending’ of lines in the band parts in the 1st movement, the lip slurs in the finale and the style of ensemble legato playing etc.


9: It should be remembered that this work is essentially an ‘entertainment’ and that the best way to deliver it is to approach it as a ‘serious’ piece – this will provide the necessary attention to idiom and style and improve the audience response enormously!

Available Recordings:

Cinnamon Concerto

For Solo Eb Alto Saxophone and Concert Band

Click image to view page 1 of the score

Spirit of the Dance - Great British Music for Wind Band - Vol. 17

Solo Saxophone: Rob Buckland

Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra

Cond.  Rafael Sanz-Espert

Polyphonic Reproductions Ltd.


Nobuya Sugawa - Saxophone Concertos

Solo Saxophone: Nobuya Sugawa

Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra

Cond.  Kazufumi Yamashita

Avex Classics

AVCL 25458

bottom of page