Selected Solo Music for Saxophone by United States Composers: 1975-2005
Stambler, David B.
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This dissertation project identifies important works for solo saxophone by United States composers between 1975 and 2005. The quality, variety, expressiveness, and difficulty of the solo saxophone repertoire during these thirty years is remarkable and remedies, to some extent, the fact that the saxophone had been a largely neglected instrument in the realm of classical music. In twentieth-century music, including Jazz, the saxophone developed, nevertheless, a unique and significant voice as is evident in the saxophone repertoire that expands immensely in many instrumental settings, including the orchestra, solo works, and a wide variety of chamber ensembles. Historically, the saxophone in the United States first found its niche in Vaudeville, military bands, and jazz ensembles, while in Europe composers such as Debussy, D'Indy, Schmitt, Ibert, Glazounov, Heiden, and Desenclos recognized the potential of the instrument and wrote for it. The saxophone is well suited to the intimacy and unique timbral explorations of the solo literature, but only by the middle twentieth century did the repertoire allow the instrument to flourish into a virtuosic and expressive voice presented by successive generations of performers – Marcel Mule, Sigurd Rascher, Cecil Leeson, Jean-Marie Londeix, Fred Hemke, Eugene Rousseau, and Donald Sinta. The very high artistic level of theses soloists was inspiring and dozens of new compositions were commissioned. Through the 1960’s American composers such as Paul Creston, Leslie Bassett, Henry Cowell, Alec Wilder, and others produced eminent works for the saxophone, to be followed by an enormous output of quality compositions between 1975 and 2005. The works chosen for performance were selected from thousands of compositions between 1975 and 2005 researched for this project. The three recital dates were: April 6, 2005, in Gildenhorn Recital Hall, December 4, 2005, in Ulrich Recital Hall, and April 15, 2006, in Gildenhorn Recital Hall. Recordings of these recitals may be obtained in person or online from the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library of the University of Maryland, College Park.