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John Adams' New Saxophone Concerto

Charles T. Downey, John Adams’ new concerto shows sax appeal in American premiere (The Classical Review, September 21)
By composing a saxophone concerto, John Adams has elevated the saxophone from its second-class status in the classical world. At least such were the hopes of some people, including perhaps the composer, for this new half-hour work. It is a heavy burden for a concerto, indeed just one of a growing number of concertos to feature the saxophone, to bear.
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Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Tim McAllister, saxophone
Adams, Saxophone Concerto (inter alia)

Some thoughts that did not make it into the review:

The saxophone has actually fared far better than other instruments invented in the 19th and 20th centuries: where are the concertos for the heckelphone, the sarrusophone, the Ondes Martenot, the electric guitar, the synthesizer, the Holztrompete? The saxophone seems to be doing just fine, and in any case, one new saxophone concerto is not going to cause saxophone parts to be added to all of those orchestral scores completed before the instrument’s invention in 1846 and its widespread acceptance. Because orchestras play so much music that predates or otherwise excludes the saxophone, it is naïve to expect that the instrument should be a part of every concert.

A live broadcast of the St. Louis Symphony's performance of the Saxophone Concerto will be available online on October 5, and Nonesuch will release a recording of the work in 2014.

Tim Smith, BSO opens season with U.S. premiere of John Adams' Saxophone Concerto (Baltimore Sun, September 21)

William Robin, Classical Saxophone, an Outlier, Is Anointed by John Adams Concerto (New York Times, September 17)

Harriet Cunningham, Restless riffs and delicacy in Adams' saxophone concerto (Sydney Morning Herald, August 25)

1 comment:

robert reilly said...

Do not forget Charles Koechlin's huge body of work for saxophone -- enought to fill three CDs by itself.