Diversions, Opus 32
II. Blowing Blue
III. Sea Breeze
This piece was commissioned by the London Saxophone Quartet for the 5th World Saxophone Congress, held in London in 1976.
The three movements are each named after a different "wind" which depict different aspects of the saxophone's character. The first, Gusty, is a lively and somewhat aggressive movement, demonstrating the power and agility of the instruments. Much use is made of accents and sudden dynamic changes as the interest is passed from one instrument to another; in the same way as leaves may be tossed this way and that on a blustery day.
Blowing Blue is much gentler in character and reflects the more lyrical side of the saxophone. Written in the jazz idiom, it begins with a pensive alto solo, blossoming into an easy and rhythmic blues in which each instrument in turn takes an improvisatory solo.
The third movement, Sea Breezes illustrates the playful aspect of the saxophone. It is a "backwards set of variations" - from a rhythmically and melodically complicated opening the framework of the piece gradually emerges. It is an exciting and, again, somewhat aggressive movement, but at the height of the confusion there suddenly emerges a drunken waltz, followed by the final tumult with Rule Britannia on the wrong beat of the bar as it rushes to its witty conclusion.