'Brilliant Blue' was written for Joe Eckert, alto saxophone, and Janet Pummill, piano. As with many of my works, the title helped me visualize the music as I composed it. To me, 'Brilliant Blue' presented an image of vitality, yet with the implications of both jazz and of quieter moods that blue brings with it. The first movement is through composed: It begins with a saxophone solo that returns toward the end, and has highly contrapuntal piano lines in various middle sections. The second movement has a subtitle: Bad News Beethoven.” My then four-year-old son used to play stormy music on the piano, saying, “Papa, this is bad news Beethoven.” The obvious opening motive quickly gives way to a moderate groove with a very jazzy feel. The final movement contains fragments of melody, chords, and counterpoint that I have been saving and wanting to use; they seemed to go together well, so I arranged them into one movement. The piano takes the role of playing ostinati (repeated patterns) much of the time, while the saxophone sings its melodies as counterpoint.