According to Chinese science and philosophy, yin and yang describes how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary and interconnected that work together to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Thus, yin and yang can be thought of as complementary forces rather than opposing ones.
The form of this piece is in two sections – an opening chorale followed by a fugue. When comparing the first section (chorale) to the second section (fugue), they sound in opposition. These opposing elements are: calm vs. energetic, soft vs. loud, homophonic vs. polyphonic, consonant vs. dissonant, emotional vs. intellectual, slow vs. fast, use of a major vs. octatonic scale, serious vs. humorous, and simple vs. complex. Despite these contrasting elements, the opening notes of the chorale in the first section become the foundation of the beginning of the fugue subject used in the second. Thus, even though the two sections strongly contrast musically with one another, the opposing forces here are thematically connected to ultimately form a composite, interconnected whole.
Instrumentation: Saxophone Quartet
Commissioned by: Dr. Richard Schwartz, saxophonist, Eastern New Mexico University