MARCEL MULE: HIS INFLUENCE ON SAXOPHONE LITERATURE

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2008

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Marcel Mule (1901-2001) was a French saxophonist, founder of the modem saxophone quartet, teacher at the Paris Conservatory, and arranger. His influence in these capacities resulted in a wealth of music for the saxophone that remains relevant and popular. I have chosen to focus on the characteristics and styles that reflected Mule's recital programming. To this end, I have designed three recitals that will include quartets, solo works, and transcriptions. The first recital consists of standard saxophone quartets written for Mule's quartet. They include: 1) Grave et Presto (1938), an early work for saxophone quartet written by his colleague at the Paris Conservatory, Jean Rivier, 2) Gabriel Pieme's Intra et variations sur un ronde populaire (1937), the first major work written for saxophone quartet, 3) Bozza's Andante et Scherzo and 4) Desenclos' Quatour, which was considered by Mule to be one of the finest saxophone quartets written. The second and third recitals are a combination of unaccompanied solos, accompanied solos, concertos or concertinos, and transcriptions by Mule. Vellones' Rapsodie pour alto saxophone, harp and celesta (1937) is one of the first compositions written for saxophone. Bonneau's Caprice en forme de valse pour solo saxophone (1950) is his most notable saxophone piece, although his Suite (1944) is a lesser-known work. Mule considered the Tomasi Concerto (1949) a good piece with a marvelous score, and was disappointed that it was not performed more often. The Tableaux (1954-59) by Maurice is a standard in saxophone literature. Bozza's Pulcinella (1944) is rarely performed, but is a good example of his light-hearted, chromatic, French style of composing. The Improvisation of the Improvisation et Caprice pour solo saxophone (1944), is not often performed, but the Caprice is a standard. The third movement of the Concertina (1938) is often played alone, but I performed the entire work. Mule respected Debussy, and his transcription of Clair de Lune is a beautiful arrangement. Mule's transcriptions of Baroque music were important; therefore, I chose arrangements of works by Bach, Lully and Martini.

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