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Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (or Band)

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Paul Creston

Paul Creston (arr. Creston)


This work bears the designation Opus 26.


General Info

Year: 1941 / 1963 / 1966
Duration: c. 19:15
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


Movements

1. Energetic – 6:40
2. Meditative – 7:15
3. Rhythmic – 5:35


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Solo Alto Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Cornets I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-tom
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

The three-movement Concerto for Alto Saxophone is considered one of Creston’s major works, as it demands polished technique and exacting control of both the soloist and ensemble. Originally written for orchestra, the Concerto was first performed by the New York Philharmonic in 1944, featuring Vincent Abato as soloist. In 1963, Creston rescored the work for symphonic band. The first movement, Energetic, is in sonata form and opens with an ensemble tutti section of the first theme, followed by solo saxophone flourishes. The soloist first presents the lyrical second theme alone, followed by the oboes and clarinets. The richly lyrical second movement, Meditative, begins with the principal theme presented by the flute, then the bassoon. The melody is plaintively beautiful and is composed within a 5/4 meter, although the melody’s rhythmic and phrasal structure does not follow the traditional bar line. Near the middle of the movement, the soloist performs a lengthy cadenza based upon the juxtaposition of melodic fragments and accompanimental material presented earlier in the movement. The movement concludes much as it began, this time with the theme first presented by the oboe, continued by the solo saxophone, and ultimately yielding to a serene F-sharp-major chord.

The third movement, Rhythmic, is in rondo form, including an energetic and vigorous A theme, a flowing, melodic B theme, and an impassioned and martial C theme. The piece concludes with a frenetic solo cadenza, followed by an exuberant and punctuated finale.

- Program Note from Baylor University Wind Ensemble concert program, 2 March 2020


During the late 1930s Paul Creston served as accompanist for the saxophone virtuoso Cecil Leeson, and developed a fondness for the instrument’s unique characteristics. For Leeson he wrote a sonata and a suite which they included in their programmes, and in 1941 he dedicated his 'Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra to him, arranging it for saxophone and band a few years later.

In three movements, it makes a strong case for the saxophone as a solo instrument, featuring virtuosic passages in the first movement (Energetic) and third movement (Rhythmic), which ends with a pyrotechnical cadenza marked "as fast as possible." Meanwhile, the saxophone’s cantabile qualities are exploited to the full in the second movement, Meditative, where the 5/4 time and Impressionist-inspired harmonies combine in creating a dreamlike atmosphere.

- Program Note from liner notes of BIS CD La Création du Monde


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Wind Ensemble (Eric Wilson, conductor; Chandler Davis, alto saxophone) – 2 March 2020
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dennis Glocke, conductor; Jacob Barnat, alto saxophone) – 18 April 2019
  • University of West Georgia (Carrollton) Wind Ensemble (Josh Byrd, conductor; Alex Payne, alto saxophone) - 22 November 2018
  • University of Miami (Coral Gables) Frost Wind Ensemble (Robert Carnochan, conductor; Samuel Valancy, alto saxophone) – 28 October 2018
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Wind Ensemble (John C. Carmichael, conductor) - 24 April 2018
  • Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Lev Ivanov, conductor; Shireen Hassan, alto saxophone) – 6 April 2018
  • University of Central Arkansas (Conway) Wind Ensemble (Ricky Brooks, conductor; Landon Cole, alto saxophone) – 28 November 2017
  • United States Navy Band (Washington, D.C.) (Kenneth Collins, conductor; Dana B. Booher, saxophone) – 6 January 2017 (George Mason University)
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (Kevin Geraldi, conductor; Emily Loboda, saxophone) – 4 December 2016
  • Wind Band of the Mikhail Glinka Academy of Music of Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) (Igor Gruzin, conductor; Florent Monfort, saxophone) - 2016


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

  • Creston, P. (1966). Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (or Band), Op. 26 [score]. G. Schirmer: New York.
  • Perusal score