Desert Tide

Like any exciting trip, this piece journeys from calm beginnings to something unexpected.

(Soprano Saxophone and Electronic soundscape).
Also available for Clarinet in Bb.
Saxophone version adapted for Douglas Masek.
Clarinet version adapted for Gianluca Campagnolo.
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2005)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".


Premiered by Douglas Masek, September 2005 in Cape Town, South Africa. Recorded by Douglas Masek, July 2006 in Los Angeles, California.

Audio clip performed by Douglas Masek.

Live performance audio of the version for Bb clarinet
performed by Joe Clark.




Desert Waves

(5 string Electric Violin and Electronic soundscape).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2001)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".


Premiered in 2003 by violinist Sabrina Ann Berger.






Desert Tide is featured on Douglas Masek's 2007 CD, Saxtronic Soundscape, on Centaur Records. Click CD for more info.  



"...the poignantly lyrical, soaring lines of Alex Shapiro's Desert Tide..."

— Blair Sanderson, All Music Guide, August 2007

You can read the entire review here.




Listen to an audio clip of Desert Tide
for soprano saxophone and electronics




Listen to a streaming live performance of Desert Tide
for Bb clarinet and electronics



View pages of the score to Desert Tide
view score


Listen to an audio clip of Desert Waves
for 5-string electric violin and electronics
Email Alex for the access code
to download a perusal score
of the soprano sax version!

download perusal score

Email Alex for the access code
to download a perusal score
of the clarinet version!

download perusal score


Purchase this score

Score and audio track available from Activist Music
for $35.00 print; $25.00 digital.







Desert Tide is some of the most programmatic music I've composed, to the point where even the score itself contains maniacal little outbursts describing the visions that swept through my mind as the music wrote itself. The scene: the desert's arid stillness and the weight of the morning's expanding heat. A sudden rainstorm overtakes the landscape, forming instant pools of water over the cracked earth. The storm passes as quickly as it arrived, and as the birds and reptiles emerge to greet the fleeting moisture, the music ends as flowers strain upward against the bluest sky for those few passionate moments of their fullest bloom. Ahhh.

Just after I started the piece, I took a road trip from my Malibu home to Tucson, Arizona. The drive was meditative, and best of all, the desert was in the full bloom of a May preceded by heavy rainfall. Everywhere I turned there were brilliant flowers bursting from inhospitable looking cactuses and scrub. It was truly beautiful.

All the stunning drives I've taken through deserts came to my senses at once, from a trip across the Sinai on a desolate road, to a trek across Mongolia's Gobi on no road at all. I also thought a lot about the extraordinary ten days I spent alone one July in the Mojave's Death Valley, immersing myself like a madwoman in its intense, 125 degree heat. I was rewarded with an equally intense and welcome inner clarity.

I'm fascinated by the desert and all the life it embraces. I returned home to the beach from Tucson four days later, and I knew what this music was really about.






Enjoy saxophonist Michael Cox
giving a beautiful performance of DESERT TIDE
at Capital University during the February 2023
NOW Music Festival for which Alex Shapiro
was composer-in-residence:






Here is clarinetist Joe Clark
in a wonderful performance of DESERT TIDE
on April 28, 2023, in La Porte, Indiana:



Desert Tide, page 4  
Desert Tide p4
Desert Tide , page 7
Desert Tide p7

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