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Concerto Grosso for Saxophone Quartet

From Wind Repertory Project
William Bolcom

William Bolcom (transcribed by the composer)


General Info

Year: 2000 / 2009
Duration: c. 20:55
Difficulty: V-VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra and Saxophone Quartet
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Score and Saxophone Quartet Parts - $165.00   |   Band Parts - Rental


Movements

1. Lively - 5:10
2. Song without Words - 6:10
3. Valse - 3:10
4. Badinerie - 5:25


Instrumentation

Piccolos I-II
Flutes I-II-III-IV
Oboes I-II-III
English Horn
Eb Clarinet
Bb Clarinets I-II-III-IV-V-VI-VII-VIII
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bassoons I-II-III
Contrabassoon

Solo Bb Soprano Saxophone
Solo Eb Alto Saxophone
Solo Bb Tenor Saxophone
Solo Eb Baritone Saxophone
Saxophones are not to be doubled

C Trumpets I-II-III-IV-V-VI
F Horns I-II-III-IV-V-VI
Trombones I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Euphoniums I-II
Tubas I-II-III
Contrabass
Harp
Piano
Timpani
Percussion (minimum of 4 players):

Percussion I:

  • Glockenspiel
  • 3 Gradated Suspended Cymbals
  • Chinese Cymbal
  • Glass Wind Chimes
  • Triangle

Percussion II:

  • Chimes
  • 4 Graduated Tom-toms
  • Wood Block

Percussion III:

  • Drumkit, assembling the following:
    • Snare Drum, Pedal Bass Drum, Hi-hats, 3 gradated Cymbals, Piccolo Snare Drum
  • Crotales (2 octaves)
  • Triangle

Percussion IV:

  • Concert Bass Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Slapstick
  • Large Tam-Tam


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

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 TSgts. 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


Awards


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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Works for Winds by this Composer


References

None discovered thus far.