by John Costa
Firebrand is a play between the hammering, blacksmith anvil rhythms on the piano and rhythmic vibrancy on the tenor saxophone. By taking advantage of the saxophone’s rhythmic agility and the emphatic, hammering chords on the piano, the idea was to express extreme emotion “out front” in a very direct manner.
The directness and the emphasis on rhythm are reminiscent of what rock ‘n’ roll accomplishes on a more simple scale. Since rock ‘n’ roll history is a subject that I teach at the University of Utah, I wanted to capture its essence in a more complex, concert music format while maintaining its direct expressive quality emulating its rhythmic vibrancy.
João Pedro Silva – artist and saxophonist -- commissioned Firebrand and gave its world premiere on July 10, 2011 at the Teatro São Luiz in Lisbon, Portugal. He was accompanied by pianist, Pedro Vleira de Almeida.