The Mississippi Music Teachers’ Association commissioned Tipping Point.  A ‘tipping point’ is sort of point of no return, when a social phenomenon becomes mainstream, or if one leans too far back in a chair and falls.  For my work, the tipping point is when really ‘enough is enough’ and one must vent frustration and take action. 

 The first movement, Boiling Up, deals with the growing frustration or anger.  Although there is a moment of calm (the middle section), the rising lines portray constant sense of an impending eruption.

 In Surface Tension, I reflect on the idea that although one may be frustrated in a particular environment, there can be a certain suspension of disbelief.  The idea being that things can seemingly go along smoothly while underneath it all one may be anxious.  The work is meant to sound like light reflecting on water, though there are a couple of outbursts when the tension becomes too great.

 Over the Edge is just when one has had enough.  This movement contains a lot of rhythmic motion and extended techniques, including multiphonics.  It is in ABA form.  The outer sections are built around an arch motive in the saxophone.  This motive rises a bit, then falls 'over the edge' at the end of each phrase.  This idea becomes more exaggerated as the piece progresses.  The first A section is actually an aba in itself, the b section containing Webern-esque, pointalistic ideas.  The middle section is calm, but intense.  Its relentless 8th-note motion is meant to build tension.  This is an inward reflection of growing anger.  The final A section returns with an extroverted expression of the same intensity.