Matthew Patnode, associate professor of music, was the guest artist with the Lake Agassiz Concert Band performance of "The Rivers Concerto for Saxophone and Band" on Dec. 6 at Minnesota State University Moorhead's Weld Hall.
"The Rivers" is inspired by three mythological rivers of the underworld. In each movement, the solo saxophone plays themes based on similar melodic and rhythmic material. According to Patnode, while the ensemble accompaniment differs in all three movements, the solo saxophone provides a stream of musical continuity, as if the soloist travels down three different rivers singing variations on the same song.
According to Patnode, the first movement, “Eridanus: The River of Stars,” is a fanfare-like procession, at once heroic and dark. The second movement, “Lethe: The River of Forgetfulness,” is more introverted in character, like the sad lullaby of a lost and haunted sleeper. The final movement, “Phlegethon: The River of Fire,” plays on two meanings of fire – the lapping of flames and that of military fire. "The work ends in a climax both biting and strident," he said.