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Street Talk

Karen Street talks to Saxtet Publications about her new piece for ensemble, All in Good Time.

Karen Street

Karen Street is one of Saxtet Publications' most popular and prolific composers. The appeal of her work lies in its combination of appealing melody and musical substance, its imaginative use of rhythm and texture, and her ability to write idiomatically in a wide range of genres.

These qualities are especially apparent in one of her best-selling titles, Street Beats, a collection of ten contrasting studies which will appear at Grades 4-6 of the new 2002/2003 Associated Board syllabus, to be published later this year. They will also be included at Grades 4 to 8 on this September's Woodwind Syllabus for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama exams on both the straight and jazz lists. Emerson Edition and Boosey & Hawkes also publish her work, and she already has a title on the current Associated Board syllabus.

A complete list of her work published by Saxtet Publications appears at the end of this feature. Here she talks about her latest composition:

"All in Good Time came about because I wanted to include a piece of music in a Saxtet concert that included students of mixed abilities. When Saxtet gives a schools concert we generally do a workshop of some kind where we demonstrate a variety of topics including breathing, elementary improvisation, rhythm and the techniques of ensemble playing. I thought it would be a nice idea to add focus to the workshops and work on a piece that could be played during our concert.

"All in Good Time was written for the students of Wellington School in Somerset, UK, which has a thriving saxophone department run by Susan and Nick White. Because there are often many beginners, I included easy alto and tenor parts so that everyone could be included. The piece can be played with or without these parts. I've also included a sheet of piano chords to help beginners practise the two short improvised sections - I know this kind of soloing can be intimidating when you're only just starting! I hope you all enjoy it.

"My titles generally come after the piece has evolved and All in Good Time reflects a lesson I have recently learnt - that things do happen, but - all in good time.

"Although visitors to the site will associate me primarily with the sax, I also play accordion, and I'm currently recording a solo accordion album - all the music is composed and played by myself. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time and have finally got round to doing it. I can hear the compositions transferring to a bigger ensemble so that will probably be the next step."

Karen's title list at Saxtet Publications comprises:

  1. Street Beats, 10 contrasting studies for solo
  2. All Because of You, Eb or Bb and piano
  3. Streets Ahead, four short contrasting pieces for alto and piano
  4. The Right Time, quartet (AATB or SATB)
  5. All Because of You, quintet (SAATB)
  6. Tango, quintet (SATTB or SAATB)
  7. Petite Sweet, ensemble (SAAATB, SAATTB, AAAATB, or AAATTB)
  8. Carnival, ensemble (S, AAA, TT, B, + opt.Bx)

Karen also features in the Sophisticated Sax collection for alto and piano, published by Boosey & Hawkes, and available via this site.

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