I ’ve loved Sir James MacMillan’s music for many years. I dabbled with transcribing other pieces of his, just for fun, but I always wanted to play something that had been written for the saxophone. He was up for writing a piece and it was a dream come true, really. It was a couple of years ago that we started talking about what it would be like, and then about a year ago I saw it for the first time.

I try to be as open-minded as I can when working with a composer, so when they say “is this possible?” I like to go away and work on it for a while. If it’s not immediately possible, technically, I like to try and make it possible. I think every instrumentalist on any instrument should keep extending the possibilities of the instrument. Within that, I like to try and make the instrument sound as good as it can, so I do give a lot of feedback about technical things.  It is a bit of a collaboration, generally.

Sir James came around and we went through it at my house in London in January. I’d...