Nature’s Bard: Dickinson’s Autumn

Date: 2020

INSTRUMENTATION: alto saxophone and piano


DEDICATION: For James Umble—in friendship

PREMIERE: March 7, 2020 North American Saxophone Alliance 2020 Biennial Conference (James Umble, saxophone; Liz Ames, piano). Arizona State University, School of Music (Tempe, AZ)

DURATION: ca. 12:30 minutes

PUBLICATION: American Composers Alliance


Nature’s Bard (Dickinson’s Autumn) uses the imagery of poet Emily Dickinson to inspire a sonic portrait of autumn in its many shifting moods. The obvious starting point—vermillion wheels, bustle in the brook, crickets and crows—gives way to the more enigmatic, disturbing, austere  and uncertain messages which often underlie Dickinson’s poetry—Oh Sacrament of summer days, Oh Last Communion in the Haze and Yet that pathetic Pendulum keeps esoteric Time. The piece was premiered by James Umble, alto saxophone, and Liz Ames, piano, at the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference in Tempe, Arizona on March 7, 2020.