Living only a short bicycle ride from Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport, I’ve taken an interest in watching jets, turboprops, helicopters and airside vehicles jostle for position around and about the airfield in a kind of hectic, yet highly choreographed ballet.
Air Traffic Control – a lively and colourful work for solo sax – takes its inspiration from the drama and excitement of this busy airport.
The melodic nature of Air Traffic Control is highly chromatic and characterized by syncopated rhythms and accents akin to those heard in a bebop-style piece. Lending a sense of immediacy to the saxophonist’s action-packed narrative are the notated sounds of an emergency siren and the beeping of an electronic device. Phrases marked crescendo and decrescendo suggest the fading in and fading out of radar and radio transmissions. Dynamics are also used as a means of evoking a sense of varying distances.
Since 2000, I have composed several aviation inspired works. These include a choral work called Aviation (a setting of an aviation-inspired poem of Australian poet, John Kinsella) and Flight of Fancy, a musical joy-ride on a hard-to-start, hand-cranked magic carpet.
Sound byte: Air Traffic Control (for alto sax) | Composer: Matthew Orlovich.
Performed by: Barry Cockcroft.