Year: 2000 / 2009
Duration: c. 20:55
Difficulty: V-VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra and Saxophone Quartet
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Parts Only - Rental | Score and Saxophone Quartet Parts - $165.00
1. Lively – 5:10
2. Song without Words – 6:10
3. Valse – 3:10
4. Badinerie – 5:25
Solo B-flat Soprano Saxophone
Solo E-flat Alto Saxophone
Solo B-flat Tenor Saxophone
Solo E-flat Baritone Saxophone
C Piccolo I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV-V-VI-VII-VIII
B-flat Bass Clarinet
C Trumpet I-II-III-IV-V-VI
Horn in F I-II-III-IV-V-VI
Percussion I-II-III-IV (minimum of 4 players), including:
- Bass Drum
- China Cymbal
- Suspended Cymbals (3)
- Tam-tam (large)
- Tom-toms (4)
- Triangles (2)
- Wind Chimes (glass)
- Wood Block
None discovered thus far.
Concerto Grosso originally composed for saxophone quartet and orchestra, was written for the PRISM Saxophone Quartet in 2000 and was premiered as a band transcription in 2009. It was premiered in 2011 by the University of Michigan Symphony Band, Michael Haithcock conducting. The work is written in a Baroque—era form involving a small group of instrumentalists in dialogue with the large orchestra, While the “Concerto Grosso” features multiple soloists and boasts such varied influences as rhythm-and-blues, bebop, and the Schumann Konzertstuck, the overall emphasis of the work is highlighting the strength and uniqueness of a group. On receiving the commission, Bolcom remarked, “Although each PRISM member is an excellent soloist, I took their request to mean that I should emphasize their group identity, their ‘fourness'.”
The homophonic nature of this piece is a reflection of unity and harmony, while also exploring the individual excellence of the members.
- Program note by David Balandrin and Ricky Parrell
Concerto Grosso, written for the PRISM Saxophone Quartet (which has included at different times a few of my former students in composition), was written purely as a piece to be enjoyed by performers and listeners. PRISM had mentioned wanting a concerto grosso for themselves. (To remind readers, a concerto grosso is a Baroque-era form involving a small group of instrumentalists, called the concertina, in dialog with the ripieno or large orchestra.
Although each PRISM member is an excellent soloist, I took their request to mean that I should emphasize their group identity, their "fourness." This immediately called up two precedents in my mind: the Schumann concerto for horn quartet which is very homophonic, and the many 20th-century groups of all sorts which often dressed alike to emphasize their uniqueness, from the Four Lads and the Beatles to the Motown groups and countless others.
The first movement, Lively, in simple sonata form, evokes blues harmonies in both its themes. Song without Words, which follows, is a lyrical larghetto. The following Valse, which has a very French cast, begins with a long solo stretch for the saxophone quartet; the development of this theme alternates with a pianissimo Scherzetto section. The final Badinerie, a title borrowed from Bach, evokes bebop and rhythm-and-blues.
The orchestral version of this work was commissioned by New Sounds Music, Inc. for the PRISM Quartet, with support from a variety of funding agencies, and premiered in 2000. I did the band transcription in 2009, stemming from a request by Professor Michael Haithcock to enable the work to be performed on the Symphony Band’s upcoming tour of China. As a result, the version for band was commissioned by a consortium of bands organized by the University of Michigan, in partnership with Baylor University, Eric Wilson, conductor; Indiana University, Stephen Pratt, conductor; the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Kevin Geraldi and John Locke, conductors; and the University of Texas at Austin, Jerry Junkin, conductor.
- Program Note by composer
- Concerto Grosso for Saxophone Quartet has been recommended as interesting, serious and distinctive music by members of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE).
- Audio CD: United States Air Force Band (Col. Larry H. Lang, conductor)
- Audio CD: University of Michigan Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor; Donald Sinta Saxophone Quartet)
- Audio flash drive: University of North Carolina Charlotte Wind Ensemble (Shawn Smith, conductor) – 2020
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Texas at Arlington Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) - 31 March 2023
- University of Washington (Seattle) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Salzman, conductor) - 8 March 2022
- University of Oklahoma (Norman) Wind Symphony (Shanti Simon, conductor) - 7 November 2021
- University of North Carolina Charlotte Wind Ensemble (Shawn Smith, conductor; UNC Charlotte Sax Quartet) – 21 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Southern Division Conference, Natchitoches, La.)
- University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 30 October 2019
- Wisconsin Lutheran College (Milwaukee) Concert Band (Terry S. Treuden, conductor) – 10 May 2019
- Temple University (Philadelphia, Penn.) Wind Symphony (Patricia Cornett, conductor; PRISM Quartet) – 26 April 2019
- Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor; Nois Saxophone Quartet) – 4 November 2018
- Ohio University (Athens) Bands (Andrew Trachsel, conductor; Sonax saxophone quartet) – 7 December 2017
- Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) Symphonic Band (Scott Boerma, conductor; PRISM Quartet) – 15 October 2017
- Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (Jacksonville, Fla.) Wind Symphony (Ted Shistle, conductor) – 14 December 2016 (2016 Midwest Clinic)
- University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Wind Orchestra (Terence Milligan, conductor; Oasis Quartet) – 16 November 2016
- University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Ozzello, conductor; East End Quartet) – 22 September 2016
- United States Army Band (Ft. Myer, Va.) (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor; Steve Ticknor, Michael Vance, Paul Tucker, Matthew Evans, saxophones) – 14 April 2016
- University of Louisville (Ky.) Symphonic Band (Amy Acklin, conductor) – 18 February 2016 (CBDNA 2016 Southern Division Conference, Charleston, S.C.)
- California State University, Fullerton, Wind Symphony (Mitchell J. Fennell, conductor; Hyperion Saxophone Quartet) – 13 February 2016 (2016 CASMEC Conference, San Jose)
- Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Wind Ensemble (J. Eric Wilson, conductor) – 11 February 2016 (2016 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
- San Jose (Calif.) Wind Symphony (Edward C. Harris, conductor) – 17 July 2015 - WASBE Conference, San Jose, Calif.
- Texas State University (San Marcos) Wind Symphony (Caroline Beatty, conductor) – 12 February 2015 (2015 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Broadside: Ceremonial for Winds
- Circus Overture (tr. Bolcom and Dooley) (2015)
- Concert Suite for Solo E-flat Alto Saxophone and Band (1998)
- Concerto for Clarinet and Band (1990/2015)
- Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Band (2015)
- Concerto Grosso for Saxophone Quartet (2000)
- Fanfare for a New President
- First Symphony for Band (2008)
- Fifth Symphony (1999)
- Five Cabaret Songs (arr. Frenkel) (2009/2014)
- Graceful Ghost Rag (1970/2011)
- Liberty Enlightening the World (1985)
- Machine (tr. Lavender) (1990/1999)
- Orphée-Sérénade (1984)
- Serenade for English Horn and Chamber Winds (2023)
- Song (for Band) (2001)
- Trombone Concerto (2017)
- Bolcom, W. (2014/2020). Concerto Grosso: For Saxophone Quartet and Band [score]. E.B. Marks: [New York].