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marimba & alto saxophone duet
Composer: Mark Ford
Publisher: Innovative Percussion
Instrumentation: 5 octave marimba and alto saxophone

Program Notes:
Wink is a duet for alto saxophone and marimba that was written for my sons Austin (marimba) and Kevin Ford (saxophone). Premiered by saxophonist Ann Bradfield and myself in January of 2011, Wink was designed to be a groovy-hip collaboration that explores three main themes: a syncopated melody, a floating assertion and a waltz-like phrase. Wink gradually builds to a “rock” adaptation of the opening statement to end the work. The title refers to those beautiful moments between fathers and sons when words are not necessary, just a wink and a smile.

“Written for the composer’s two sons, Austin and Kevin, “Wink” is a fantastic composition for saxophone and marimba. As one might expect from a Mark Ford work, the piece is scored exquisitely for the marimba. The composer describes the music as a “groovy-hip collaboration.” Much of the groove element is provided through Ford’s various accompaniment figures that provide a backdrop for the wandering sax melodies. The piece has three primary themes and uses solo interludes as transitional material. One of the highlights is the waltz-like section that culminates in sextuplets passed between the musicians. The composition builds to a climatic recapitulation of the opening material with the marimba providing a “rock-like” drumset-influenced accompaniment pattern.

At the time of this writing, there is a highly recommended video available on YouTube of the composer and saxophonist Ann Branford performing the work at a faculty recital at the University of North Texas in September 2011. The contemporary groove element distinguishes this piece from other popular works in this genre such as Yuyama’s “Divertimento for Marimba and Alto Saxophone.” “Wink” is a beautiful homage to the special connection between father and sons and a unique addition to the repertoire.” — John Willmarth Percussion Notes, July 2013

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Mark Ford Mark Ford
University of North Texas
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