Sonata of Puzzles is scored for alto saxophone and piano and was commissioned by over 50 saxophonists from 16
countries as part of the inaugural Global Premiere Consortium Commissioning Project. As the titles suggest, this work is modeled
after the structural properties of three different types of puzzles. In the first movement, “Never-Ending Jigsaw,”
the pitch and rhythmic structure of the piano and saxophone parts fit together like puzzle pieces. Through a variety of hocket
patterns and complementary pitch collections or rhythmic patterns, the performers rely on each other to complete the fabric
and texture of the entire movement. In theory, the end of this movement connects back to the beginning of the movement and
it could be played forever. The second movement, “Dead-End Labyrinth,” is based on a complex pitch structure that
is generated from the basic pitch structure of the first movement. This creates many more musical paths to follow with a variety
of "turns" and dead ends. The music ebbs and flows as new discoveries are made, longer stretches of the "maze"
are reached, and backtracking is required. The rhythmic character is quite the opposite from that found in the first movement:
this movement tends to float through time with little to no pulse or clear orientation between the piano and saxophone. The
third movement "Crossword On Fire" takes all of the pitch material from the first two movements and fits them together
in a way that highlights both the similarities and differences between them. Segments of pitches are pieced together in a
sort of musical crossword puzzle to solve this movement and the contents of the puzzle guide the entire structure. The title
of this movement comes from the "burning" nature of the music, as if someone is tasked with solving a crossword
puzzle that is on fire.