Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble (Dahl)

From Wind Repertory Project
Ingolf Dahl

Ingolf Dahl

N.B. Some sources entitle this work Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Orchestra.

General Info

Year: 1949 / 1953
Duration: c. 20:10
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: European American Music
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental  |   Score Only - $150.00


1. Recitative - 5:06
2. Adagio (Passicaglia) - 7:33
3. Rondo alla Marcia: Allegro Brioso - 8:15


Full Score
Solo E-flat Alto Saxophone
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos (2)
  • Castanets
  • Cowbell
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Field Drum
  • Metal Block
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Temple Block (low pitches)
  • Tom-Toms (2)
  • Triangle
  • Whip
  • Wood Blocks (high and low pitches)
  • Xylophone


  • Timpani, mvt. III, reh. K: The first two measures have the wrong rhythm.

Program Notes

Ingolf Dahl was a champion of new music in the early 20th century, and the influences of Schoenberg and Stravinsky are discernible in his Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble. Economical textures and a progressive approach to tonality enhances a saxophone solo that requires a very strong performer. The use of these techniques does not overshadow lyricism, however, as the work evokes a post-Romantic sensibility. Although it is a fairly lengthy work, this concerto is quite accessible for audiences. Those familiar with Dahl's Sinfonietta will recognize several stylistic similarities between the two pieces.

- Program Note from Great Music for Wind Band

Dahl's saxophone concerto was written for Sigurd Rascher in 1949 and revised four years later. It is both a large-scale and an important work, but, because of the difficulty of the solo, as well as the accompaniment, has not been performed often. The scoring of the piece is specifically for "wind orchestra," therefore implying a one-on-a-part performance.

The concerto is tonally somewhat traditional, but the treatment of rhythm is not, revealing much inspiration from jazz and the works of Igor Stravinsky -- with whom Dahl sometimes worked during this period. Dahl proves himself and his style capable of both melancholy and passionate expression in the first two movements, followed by carefree wit (the kind of abandon which Beethoven call "unbuttoned") in the last. Both kinds of writing are well suited to the unique tone of the saxophone.

In form, the concerto is unusual, forming a kind of binary unit. The first is made up of the first two movements, both of them slow and connected without a pause; the second is more of a complicated rondo finale. Near the end, in a gesture of deference to classical practice, there is a brief saxophone cadenza, leading to a brilliant prestissimo coda on the rondo theme.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Thomas Gamboa, conductor; Braydon Sowell, alto saxophone) - 22 March 2023
  • United States Army Field Band I (Fort Meade, Md.) (Jim R. Keane, conductor; Michael Ethier, saxophone) - 15 December 2021 (2021 Midwest Clinic)
  • University of Toronto (Ont., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Gillian MacKay, conductor; Christopher Jones, alto saxophone) – 1 March 2020
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 18 October 2019
  • New England Conservatory (Boston, Mass.) Wind Ensemble (Charles Peltz, conductor; Kenneth Radnofsky, alto saxophone) – 10 October 2019
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Adam Williamson, conductor; Greg Case, alto saxophone) – 14 April 2019
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Symphonic Band (Anthony Falcone, conductor; Daniel Oshiro, alto saxophone) – 5 March 2019
  • Hartt Wind Ensemble (Hartford, Conn.) (Glen Adsit, conductor) – 9 February 2019
  • United States Navy Band (Washington, D.C.) (Kenneth Collins, conductor; Jonathan R. Yanik, alto saxophone)) - 11 January 2019
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (Stephen Story, conductor; Benjamin Morris, also saxophone) – 11 November 2018
  • New England Conservatory (Boston) Wind Ensemble (Charles Peltz, conductor; Scott Chamberlin, alto saxophone) - 12 April 2018
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor; Joseph Lulloff, alto saxophone) – 28 September 2017
  • University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Symphony (Steven D. Davis, conductor; Walt Puyear, alto saxophone) – 17 September 2017
  • West Chester University (Penn.) Wind Symphony (M. Gregory Martin, conductor; Erick Miranda, alto saxophone) – 26 April 2017
  • The Hartt Wind Ensemble (West Hartford, Conn.) (James Jackson, conductor; Harrison Kliewe, alto saxophone) – 10 February 2017
  • University of Michigan Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor; Timothy McAllister, alto saxophone) - 30 October 2015
  • Illinois State University Wind Symphony (Martin H. Seggelke, conductor; Trenell Wherry-Smith, also saxophone) - 26 April 2015
  • Chicago College of Performing Arts Wind Ensemble (Stephen E. Squires, conductor; Sean Hurlburt, alto saxophone) - 30 October 2013
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Wind Ensemble (John C. Carmichael, conductor; Matthew Carmichael, alto saxophone) - 6 March 2013 (ABA 2013 Annual Convention (Tampa, Florida))
  • Columbus (Ga.) State University Wind Ensemble (Jamie Nix, conductor; Amy Griffith, alto saxophone) – 24 March 2012 (CBDNA 2012 Southern Division Conference, Kennesaw, Ga.)

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Girsberger, Russ. Percussion Assignments for Band & Wind Ensemble. Volume I: A-K. Galesburg, MD: Meredith Music Publications, 2004, 75. Print.
  • Nicholson, Chad. (2009). Great Music for Wind Band: A Guide to the Top 100 Works in Grades IV, V, VI. Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications. pp 132-133.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). ‘‘Program Notes for Band.’’ Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 153.