Five Mangled Expressions by David DeBoor Canfield

March 16, 2016

Five Mangled Expressions was written in just eleven days between April 8th and May 6th of 2012. Saxophonist Stacy Maugans commissioned this work to collaborate with her new colleague, hornist Ericka Tyner Grodrian, on the occasion of her hire at Valparaiso University. The two premiered the piece at the International Horn Symposium in Memphis, Tennessee on July 31, 2013.

The title of the work was selected before one note of the piece was written. Composer David DeBoor Canfield initially intended to portray several common English expressions like “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” in the work. After reflection, however, he decided a more playful approach would be to write a piece based on mangled versions of these common expressions, resulting in movement titles like “It ain’t over ‘til the cows come home!” Canfield also embedded a few unrelated musical jokes in the work, including an obvious quote from Richard Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, along with a “silent” ending where performers are instructed to finger the notes of the final measure while blowing air through their instruments.

The five movements are structured in a fast-slow-fast-slow-fast pattern, with the slower movements serving as solo features for the saxophone and horn respectively. The faster three movements showcase the instruments equally, with both saxophone and horn alternating between melodic and virtuosic passages.

Recording Date:
 June 23, 2014
Recording Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Ensemble Type:  Saxophone and Horn duet
Duration: 0:11:27
Performers: Stacy Maugans, Saxophone and Ericka Tyner Grodrian, Horn

About the Music

Composer: David DeBoor Canfield
Instrumentation: Saxphone and Horn
Place of Composition:
Date Composed: May 2012
Place First Performed: 2013 International Horn Symposium 
Date First Performed: July 31, 2013
Music Styles: Tonal/modal

Five Mangled Expressions (2012)

A bird in the hand is bent out of shape.


Don’t blow your cool while the iron is hot!


Fools rush in until the fat lady sings.


There’s no place like the beaten path.


It ain’t over ‘til the cows come home!

1932 Last modified on September 25, 2018