Garth Baxter is noted as a modern traditionalist composer. This is a style that combines the traditions of form and clear melodic writing with the use of contemporary approaches to harmonies and other elements. He has composed works for various performance mediums, ranging from intimate solo and small group settings to larger ensembles such as orchestra and concert band. His compositions have been performed around the world.

Chamber Music

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From the Headwaters for Piano Trio (Violin, cello and piano) YouTube

9 minutes, Upper intermediate. Alymar, score and parts $20.00

Piano Trio (Violin, Cello, Piano)

This is a romantic one-movement work in a broad ternary form. It begins with a dark theme in the two stringed instruments. After the piano enters with that theme it then moves to a romantic melody. The B section is up-tempo with a light melody that is tossed around among the 3 instruments. It returns to an abbreviated A section.

This piece is dedicated to the memory of my brother Gari Baxter.

(This is a revision of an earlier work: The Rejected Stone.)

Could You Dream What I Dream for Violin and Piano YouTube

For Violin and Piano

6 + minutes

Could you dream what I dream is a romantic work written for violinist Nicholas Currie. The opening melody is borrowed from an aria sung in Act I, Scene II, by the male lead in the opera Lily which Mr. Baxter is writing with librettist Lisa VanAuken.

The lyricism that is so clearly a strong feature in Mr. Baxter's style is very evident here - melodic, and flexible in both the violin and piano parts (it's nice that the piano gets some lovely passages, as well!). I would imagine that this piece would fit wonderfully in a recital program, as it could both complement and contrast other works, while still holding its own grown. There is depth and weight to it.
-Ronald Pearl, Guitarist and composer

There are no words to describe the emotions I feel in this piece, which I feel is one of Garth's best. No truer notes of love have ever been spoken and none have pierced my heart so. Don't speak; only listen to notes so true as to never have known language at all, but have soared through the heart's center. The heart's desire. My heart's desire.
-Lea Johnson, Pianist

Des Larmes Encadrees (Framed Tears) (Alto Saxophone and Piano) YouTube

7 minutes, Intermediate to upper intermediate. ALRY Publications $10, CD $5

Des larmes encadrées, for Alto Saxophone and Piano, was written for my friend Romain Gravier, who is a saxophone player in the Paris-based group La Scaña del Domingo. The first of the two main themes is a melancholy bluesy theme, which captures Romain’s carefree approach to life. Always relaxed, he takes life as it comes without succumbing to the stress and anxiety the rest of us react to. The second primary theme is loosely based on the English folksong The Willow Tree, which is a favorite of Romain’s wife, Laurence Gravier. The title, Des larmes encadrées means Framed Tears. Both of the major themes are a bit reflective, so I infused the music with a more upbeat transitional theme which I used throughout the composition. As in all of my chamber compositions, I made a real effort to make the instruments equal partners. The piano is not accompaniment; it is an essential element along with the saxophone.

Il y a longtemps (Violin and Piano) YouTube

"Really, really nice. Immediately recognizable as you. Your style is very clear and honest, and moreover, it is a style, and not just a mish-mash of whatever happens to be at hand. Nicely controlled and directed."
-Ron Pearl, Composer

5 minutes, Alymar Publications.

Romantic work for violin and piano based upon the aria Long Ago from Act I, Scene III of the opera Lily. A secondary melody is also featured which is also based on a melody from the same scene of Lily. This work was written for violinist Nicholas Currie and pianist Diana Greene.

Let's End With A Waltz for Brass Quintet (2 Trumpets, French Horn, Trombone and Tuba) YouTube

Written for the Lyric Brass Quintet

5 minutes, upper intermediate to lower advanced level.

The work begins rather darkly with a falling motive passed between the instruments. Then a more substantial melody appears in the trumpets followed by another theme from the French Horn. This is followed by some development of these thematic ideas which then dissolves into a light waltz.

MacPherson's Lament for string quartet YouTube

7 minutes. Intermediate

James MacPherson (1675-1700) was a Scottish outlaw and fiddle player. His story is well known in certain parts of Scotland. After his father's death he was raised by his mother's family, who were gypsies. He grew to be a man of uncommon strength, an excellent swordsman and a renowned fiddler. As is so often the case of these type of folk heroes, the story goes that, in spite of his occupation, no act of cruelty, or robbery of a widow, or of the fatherless, or of the distressed, was ever perpetrated under his command. However, he was betrayed by a man of his own tribe and a warrant for his arrest went out. After many unsuccessful attempts he was finally captured and put to trial. He was sentenced to death by hanging in the town of Banff. He composed his Lament the night before the hanging. As 2:30 approached, the time for the punishment, the people in charge heard that a reprieve was on its way from the Lord of Grant, so they moved the town clock up by 15 minutes and went forth with the execution. Legend says that MacPherson played his lament at the gallows. After finishing the lament he then broke the fiddle either over his knee, or over the head of the executioner, depending on which version of the tale you want to believe, then by some accounts flung himself down so that he hung himself by his own will. MacPherson's sword is on display at the Duff house in Banff. It is written that even to this day the town of Macduff has its west-facing town clock covered so the people of Banff can't see the correct time!

Robert Burns wrote words to go with the music.

Notes from Garth Baxter:
I found the tune to be remarkably beautiful. My work is completely inspired by MacPherson's Lament. I have taken melodic ideas from the first two sections of the Lament and used them to build my composition. But I wanted to end my piece with much of the last phrase from the original work. I did so, but changed the meters in some measures and extended some motives. Obviously I added the texture of the quartet in contrast to the solo violin in the original.

A Parting Glass for Woodwind Quintet (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, French Horn and Bassoon)

6+ minutes

Notes from Garth Baxter:
This work was inspired by my recent trip to Ireland in the Fall of 2016. The title of the work is taken from a popular Irish folk song from which several motives are used to build this piece. Another Irish folk song, Katie ni Dhuibhir is also quoted. The latter folk song is rather obscure but the name was used in 18th Century Irish poetry as a sobriquet for Ireland.

When Lights Begin to Show (Flute, Clarinet and Guitar) YouTube

5 minutes, Les Productions d'OZ

Written for the marriage of Amit and Rajni.

The Silver Run YouTube

9 minutes, upper intermediate level, ALRY Publications. CD $5 (available late fall, 2003)

The Silver Run is a two-movement work in the neo-romantic style. The first movement, in ternary form, begins with a lyrical chromatic melody that is the centerpiece of this movement. The middle section develops a transitional motive from the first section. The second movement, also in ternary form, is rather upbeat. The first of the two primary themes is lyrical, but active. The second is more rhythmic and chromatic. This is a substantial and fun composition that is sure to be a hit at recitals.