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Michael Nyman

Publisher: Chester Music

Songs for Tony (1993)
commissioned by the Apollo Saxophone Quartet
Work Notes
in memory of Tony Simons
Chester Music Ltd
Small Ensemble (2-6 players)
Year Composed
10 Minutes
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Programme Note
Michael Nyman Songs for Tony (1993)


I began writing a saxophone quartet on New Year's Eve 1992. In the early afternoon of 5th January 1993, I was informed that my friend and business manager, Tony Simmons, had died after a long and heroic fight against cancer. I immediately sat down and wrote the music which became the fourth song, in what became a 'memorial' quartet. The previously composed music was scrapped as I decided to give each player, in turn, an 'aria' of his own.

The first song is a transcription of an actual song - 'Mozart on Mortality' - which I wrote for the Composers Ensemble in the spring of 1992. The text, by Mozart himself, is all too appropriate: 'I may not see another day'. The second song is adapted from the music for the scene in Jane Campion's film The Piano, where the mute Ada (Holly Hunter) pushes her chief means of communication, her piano, overboard. This film was the last major deal that Tony negotiated on my behalf. The third song, a soprano sax solo, is based on a tune I composed some years ago, but was saving for a special occasion.

Michael Nyman
April 1993

  • Ensemble
    Apollo Saxophone Quartet
  • Ensemble
    Delta Saxophone Quartet
    Clarinet Classics:
  • Ensemble
    Michael Nyman Band
    David McAlmont
    Michael Nyman
    MN Records:
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