The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

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Lance
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The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by Lance » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:27 pm

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com ... SX355_.jpg
BIS 1270, 64:43

Here's a CD that's been around for a while [2003] entitled "Historic Saxophone". Claude Delangle plays a variety of historic soprano, tenor, alto, and baritone saxophones beautifully accompanied by Odile Delangle (Claude's wife). There is a wonderful array of compositions herein from my preferred periods in music history. I was at a recital one day and heard, for the first time, the music of Jean-Baptiste Singelée (1812-1875) and had to have more. The way to have more is to buy recordings! I have yet to be disatissfied with anything by Singelée. Jules Demersseman (1833-1866), Jérome Savari (1819-1870), Paul Agricol Genin (1832-1903), Joseph Arban (1825-1889), Léon Chic (1819-1916) and Hyacinthe Klose (1808-1880) are all featured on this album in short compositions that will give you a great lift for your day. If you don't think of Adolphe Sax's instrument as a classical music instrument, think again! Superb recording, excellent balance between the instruments, and revelatory playing by these artists.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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jbuck919
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:46 pm

Oh gosh, here we go again. The sax was my father's main instrument, but all I can say about it is that I hope that Adolph Sax is in the appropriate circle of hell to have to listen to it for eternity.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by Lance » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:54 pm

Hmm, well John, I never took the saxophone too seriously in classical music, , however, Sax lived in a time when his instrument could create stylistic playing like Paganini or Liszt. Again, I must say, this is an hugely entertaining and ear brightener. I even had to play some of the selections two or three times in sequence!
jbuck919 wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:46 pm
Oh gosh, here we go again. The sax was my father's main instrument, but all I can say about it is that I hope that Adolph Sax is in the appropriate circle of hell to have to listen to it for eternity.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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John F
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by John F » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:35 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:46 pm
The sax was my father's main instrument, but all I can say about it is that I hope that Adolph Sax is in the appropriate circle of hell to have to listen to it for eternity.
I'm with you. It's not just that the classical repertoire for saxophone is so sparse and musically unimportant. To my ears, the instrument's sound per se is irredeemably vulgar, the lower the pitch the more lowdown the effect - not because of the jazz association, I've nothing against the vibrophone, but intrinsically. The only thing worse than a solo sax is a quartet of the beasts. If it weren't for commissions from saxophonists like Sigurd Rascher and Elise Hall, few reputable composers would write solo pieces for it at all.
John Francis

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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by jserraglio » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:14 am

Bereft of snob appeal, the low-born sax, played by master musicians, is capable of the sublime. The great Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter tried to imitate its sound.

Sonny Rollins
Ben Webster
John Coltrane
Coleman Hawkins
Lester Young
Sidney Bechet
Wayne Shorter
Charlie Parker


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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by diegobueno » Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:24 am

Another saxophone war, is it? Well, you all know how I feel about it. But here's more eloquent testimony from the composer Florent Schmitt, and his sumptuous Légende for saxophone and orchestra.


jserraglio
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by jserraglio » Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:35 am

Thanks, I'm a fan of Schmitt but hadn't heard it.
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maestrob
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by maestrob » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:54 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:35 am
Thanks, I'm a fan of Schmitt but hadn't heard it.
________________________________________
Same here. Thanks, Mark & Lance! :)

I've long been a fan of the instrument in jazz and am familiar with every name on the list above. Please add Gerry Mulligan to that list of jazz greats (he played baritone).

BTW: Didn't Sousa use saxophones in his phenomenally successful band, IIRC?

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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:27 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:54 pm
jserraglio wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:35 am
Thanks, I'm a fan of Schmitt but hadn't heard it.
________________________________________
Same here. Thanks, Mark & Lance! :)

I've long been a fan of the instrument in jazz and am familiar with every name on the list above. Please add Gerry Mulligan to that list of jazz greats (he played baritone).

BTW: Didn't Sousa use saxophones in his phenomenally successful band, IIRC?
There is a reason I was given my nickname, and yes, the sax has been a standard band feature at least since Sousa. Many people do not understand that it is an essentially loud instrument, and the main job of concert band directors in this regard is to put their hand in their face to quiet them down. In marching formation, it has not been unusual for the saxes only to be window dressing, i.e., to pretend to be playing when in fact they are making no sound.

I have posted this before, but has anyone ever heard a muted sax? Muted trumpets are of course common in pop music. Here is an example of a muted sax, and I'd be willing to bet that I am the only one here who could identify it. (Yes, I am aware that the opening is a muted trumpet.)


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by John F » Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:28 pm

However, Lance's topic is classical music for saxophone, not jazz.
John Francis

jserraglio
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by jserraglio » Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:50 pm

John F wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:28 pm
However, Lance's topic is classical music for saxophone, not jazz.
Saxophone that in too.

Last edited by jserraglio on Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

jserraglio
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by jserraglio » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:17 pm

Philip Glass wrote for sax:

Walter Piston: Saxophone Sonata

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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by Lance » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:40 pm

Well, there has been some "serious" classical music composed for the saxophone:

Ibert - Concertino da Camera
Glazounov - Concerto
Creston - Sonata (the piano part is WAY more difficult than the sax part!)
Creston - Saxophone Concerto
Milhaud - Scaramouche - originally a suite for two pianos (the version I prefer), arranged by him for sax and piano (or orchestra)
Wilder - Sonata
And seemingly dozens of competition pieces for the Paris Conservatory
Dominic Muldowney - Saxophone concerto
Manuel Rosenthal - Saxophone Marmalade
C. D. Canfield - Saxophone Concerto
J. Cheetham - Saxophone Concerto
I. Dahl - Saxophone Concerto

Of course, much more contemporary music has been composed. It did, for many reasons, take some time for Adolphe's instrument to be viewed as a valid instrument.

Some composers thought enough of the saxophone to write for it. But my original intent with this post to PROMISE you that you would be delighted with the compositions on this particular BIS disc. If music is composed to entertain (in the broadest use of the term), then that it does here.
Lance G. Hill
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______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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jbuck919
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:43 pm

At university I was once at the home of Arthur Mendel, the compiling editor of the still indispensable Bach Reader. He put on a recording of The Art of Fugue and challenged me to identify the performing forces. Well, for all the self-doubt I've had in my life, I could not miss on this one, for it was a saxophone quartet. (The rest of our conversation involved the then new Telefunken series of Bach cantatas. Hard to believe, isn't it, that in 1973 there was only one recording of these and it was still in progress.) This is still the best performance of Cantata 8 that I have ever heard, and it is rare in that series because the chorus is the King's College Choir, who among other things exhibited perfect German pronunciation Yes I am changing the topic, but who um lebendiges Gottes Willen wants to stay on the topic of the saxophone?


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by John F » Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:42 pm

Lance wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:40 pm
Well, there has been some "serious" classical music composed for the saxophone:

Ibert - Concertino da Camera
Glazounov - Concerto
Creston - Sonata (the piano part is WAY more difficult than the sax part!)
Creston - Saxophone Concerto
Milhaud - Scaramouche - originally a suite for two pianos (the version I prefer), arranged by him for sax and piano (or orchestra)
Wilder - Sonata
And seemingly dozens of competition pieces for the Paris Conservatory
Dominic Muldowney - Saxophone concerto
Manuel Rosenthal - Saxophone Marmalade
C. D. Canfield - Saxophone Concerto
J. Cheetham - Saxophone Concerto
I. Dahl - Saxophone Concerto
Like I said, the classical repertoire for saxophone is sparse and musically unimportant. About the only time you hear a saxophone in a classical concert is for a few moments in Ravel's Boléro. And as I also said, most of these were written for saxophonists like Sigurd Rascher and Elise Hall, to which I'd now add the Paris Conservatory; if you check the Wikipedia articles on the pieces you name, you'll find this is so.

When Pablo Casals recorded the Brandenburg Concertos at the 1950 Prades Festival, evidently no high trumpeter could be found for #2, so they brought in Marcel Mule to play it on the soprano saxophone. With Casals's very fast tempos which don't permit vibrato, you can't tell what the instrument is, which is a good thing. :mrgreen:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQKTTfvYDCs

Better than playing it on the trumpet with the highest-flying bits an octave down or just left out, which is what Bernard Baker did in Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra performance. But that's not saying much.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kGF647Frhk

But I digress. :)
John Francis

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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by barney » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:32 pm

You are right, Brian - I would not have identified it, I don't think. Certainly not first guess.

This is an interesting thread, and I will investigate some of the music. The Gould pavane is a sweet if slight piece. I tend to feel as JohnF does about the saxophone repertoire I know (one or two CDs of it).

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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by jserraglio » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:44 pm

Discover the joy of classical sax.

Bizet - L'Arlésienne Suite No. 1 & Suite No. 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBlNa9_RCNw
Good sax stuff at 3:35. Uses the saxophone soloistically yet subtly.

Britten - Sinfonia da Requiem
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZAgYQSTTJA
The sax is an indivisible part of the symphonic texture.

Vaughan Williams - Job, Scene VI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re2jHx7L9AE
[VW} uses the [saxophone's] seductive sensuality to connote the oily hypocrisy of Job’s Comforters.

Vaughan Williams - Symphony No. 6, mvt. 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFzWCXq ... riU#t=1537
@ 20:15: A couple of minutes into the third movement of the Sixth Symphony – one of Vaughan Williams’s most snarlingly aggressive – a sinuous tenor sax is played against an accompaniment of snare drum and scurrying strings. It seems almost jazzy at first, but as its motif is repeated again and again before being taken up by the full orchestra, it starts to sound deeply unsettling.

Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition (orch. Ravel), "Gnomus", "Old Castle"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlAZzGcOLSw
@ 6:20: When Ravel arranged the work for orchestra in 1922, he allotted the role of the troubadour to the alto sax. Brilliantly imaginative, it captures the music’s mood to perfection.

Rachmaninov - Symphonic Dances
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=866Au5pOmks
[Rachmaninov] makes the saxophone’s solo in the first movement a distillation of melancholy and nostalgia – and it’s essential to the music’s structure too, an integration of saxophonic-colour and quasi-symphonic architecture.

Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet, No 13 Dance of the Knights
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_hOR50u7ek
@ 4:44: Little surprise that Prokofiev, a composer who was never averse to exploring the orchestra’s full range of colours, introduced the saxophone to its ranks on a few occasions. One was in his 1934 film score for Lieutenant Kijé, but the more famous instance is when, in the ballet Romeo and Juliet, a tenor sax is heard taking up the main tune of the ‘Dance of the Knights’, giving it a lighter, jauntier touch.

Adams - Nixon in China
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXXmjR0aCug
Puts a quartet of saxes at the centre of the ensemble. Music starts at 4:30.

Louis Andriessen - De Stijl
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qJtKiZLUhE
[Saxophones[ propel the whole piece, violently, blaringly, and brilliantly.

Richard Rodney Bennett - Saxophone Concerto
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5kA-StuKRA
The sax still says “solo” instead of “team player” for many composers, so why not go the whole hog, and write a concerto for it?

Mark-Anthony Turnage: Hidden Love Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMPRdN-FqqE
With his favourite saxophonist collaborator Martin Robertson, [Turnage] has created such pieces as Blood on the Floor and Your Rockaby, indelible parts of the contemporary saxophone repertoire. And there’s this, a concerto for soprano sax and chamber orchestra, Hidden Love Song.

Harrison Birtwistle - Panic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25j1wcO7yfY
Birtwistle has made the saxophone an essential part of his instrumentarium; it’s in pieces from 1972’s The Triumph of Time, to his 2008 opera, The Minotaur.

David Maslanka - Concerto for Sax & Winds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFFAkZS ... VyxSMQFFqs

Content arranged and commentary quoted from two sites:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.thegua ... saxophones
http://www.classical-music.com/article/ ... -saxophone
Last edited by jserraglio on Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:47 am, edited 6 times in total.

jbuck919
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:18 am

John F wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:42 pm
But I digress. :)
By all means, continue to digress. If one wants to cite the miraculous use of an instrument normally used for other purposes, the second Brandenburg is hard to beat. Bach utilized the amazing talents of the town trumpeter who supposedly died (not necessarily by this piece) during performance. Small wonder. In Bach's time, anyone hearing the trumpet (primitive by modern standards) blast out these glorious lines would surely have been knocked out of his seat. I have always imagined that Bach's performers, used to nothing but the very ordinary, adored him for giving them something really challenging to do.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Heck148
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by Heck148 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:05 am

jserraglio wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:14 am
Bereft of snob appeal, the low-born sax, played by master musicians, is capable of the sublime. The great Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter tried to imitate its sound.

Sonny Rollins
Ben Webster
John Coltrane
Coleman Hawkins
Lester Young
Sidney Bechet
Wayne Shorter
Charlie Parker
Add Johnny Hodges to that list...superb musician, played so expressively...

Heck148
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by Heck148 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:08 am

jserraglio wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:44 pm
Discover the joy of classical sax.
Vaughan Williams - Job, Scene VI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re2jHx7L9AE
[VW} uses the [saxophone's] seductive sensuality to connote the oily hypocrisy of Job’s Comforters.

Vaughan Williams - Symphony No. 6, mvt. 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFzWCXq ... riU#t=1537
@ 20:15: A couple of minutes into the third movement of the Sixth Symphony – one of Vaughan Williams’s most snarlingly aggressive – a sinuous tenor sax is played against an accompaniment of snare drum and scurrying strings. It seems almost jazzy at first, but as its motif is repeated again and again before being taken up by the full orchestra, it starts to sound deeply unsettling.
Also - Vaughan Williams - Sym #9 - beautiful use of saxes in symphonic setting......gives a very haunting quality...really lovely and effective...

jserraglio
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Re: The saxophone for shear, shear enjoyment!

Post by jserraglio » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:29 pm

Thanks. Did not know.

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