top of page

A Wind-Up Doll's Dream

for alto saxophone and violoncello

Composition details


Alto Saxophone, Violoncello


c. 4’45”

Year of composition


Programme notes

A Wind-up Doll’s Dream for alto saxophone and violoncello was composed for the South African tour of the American Helton-Thomas Duo (Jonathan Helton – alto saxophone and Steven Thomas – violoncello) in 2019. Preliminary sketches of the work were first performed at a concert in Neerpelt in Belgium and the final composition was premiered at a recital concert at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. This composition is based on a concise central motif that contains all seven the tones that comprises the scale of the entire work. This motif appears in full for the first time in the saxophone, all the tones in this statement are semiquavers. The fact that all the tones of the entire composition are encapsulated in the central motif is an unusual limiting factor that not only challenges the composer’s resilience in working with limited material but also challenges the resilience of the larger structure and development of the composition. The material and the limitations urged me to employ interesting composition techniques and overcome the difficulties posed by them in order to compose a substantial work. Without resilience, I would not have been able to complete this composition and find compositional techniques to work with the material. This is an energetic and playful work with an animated dialogue between the two instruments, hence the (non-programmatic) title.


14 May 2019. Helton-Thomas Duo in Concert. The Atrium, University of the Witwatersrand. Saxophone: Jonathan Helton, Violoncello: Steven Thomas.

16 May 2019. South African Music Concert. School of Music and Conservatory, North-West University, Potchefstroom. Saxophone: Jonathan Helton, Violoncello: Steven Thomas.

Music score

The music score of this composition can be ordered from the composer through the contact page. Please ensure that you provide the correct title and version/instrumentation of the composition that you would like to order.

Wind up Doll's dream SAMPLE.jpg
bottom of page