Jonathan Sheffer composer
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra | Petter Sundkvist conductor
Anders Paulsson soprano saxophone
I met the Swedish saxophonist Anders Paulsson in the early 90s through my friend and mentor John Corigliano. Anders, always a very entrepreneurial sort of musician, was to be the focus of a 1996 concert on Swedish Public Television. Fortunately for me, the program included funding for a commission of a new concerto, and Anders kindly asked me to compose something for soprano sax and large orchestra.
The resulting piece, which I later subtitled Romp, is a sort of hero’s journey in the manner of the maximal sorts of tone poems of an earlier century. It is in a three-movement structure: sonata form; ballade; and rondo. After I had completed it, it took on the character of a narrative piece for me, as though some imaginary protagonist faced difficulties, enjoyed blissful happiness, and finally grew in maturity.
The first performance took place at the Berwaldhallen in Stockholm, a concert hall/radio studio and a center of Swedish broadcasting, as part of the concert featuring Anders that was broadcast live. The miraculous Swedish Radio Orchestra was
conducted by Petter Sundkvist, which produced a performance that matched every idea and musical gesture that I had
imagined with absolute fidelity.
– Jonathan Sheffer