Since completing his studies with Ross Lee Finney and Leslie Bassett at the University of Michigan, Russell Peck lb. 19.0045), has won the Koussevitsky Prize in Composition and honors from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and several state arts councils in the U.S.A., and has served as composer-in-residence of the Indianapolis Symphony. His music (which includes a concerto for tenor saxophone), has been recorded and performed by fifteen major orchestras in America, as well as the London Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Great Britain. 'Drastic Measures' (19.0076), contrasts a lyrical opening followed segue by a rhythmic closing 'Allegro' movement. The work draws considerably on pop and jazz influences, especially the funky 'Allegro', which is built on a twelve-bar blues bass-line. Peck interjects a reminder of the quiet opening before ending the piece with a tutti flourish.
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), Flemish composer, organist, and teacher, studied with Zarlino in Venice before being appointed organist of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, where he remained for his entire professional career. Known today primarely as a composer of organ music, Sweelinck was known by his contemporaries as a vocal composer because only these works were published during his life. He was also a renowned teacher, nicknamed 'the maker of organists'. The 'Fantasia' featured on this recording lends itself for adaptation from its original as an organ piece because of the organ-like sound that a quartet of saxophones can achieve. The contrapuntal lines in all ranges also make for a perfect opportunity to display the agility of the saxophone quartet in all its voices. German composer, pianist and clarinettist, Harald Genzmer )b. 19.0009) studied composition with Paul Bindemith, and like his teacher, is a prolific composer in all genres (except opera) who has written music both for concert performance as well as for amateurs and students. His catalogue includes a 'Rhapsodic' for baritone saxophone, two pieces for alto saxophone, a sonata for soprano saxophone, and several saxophone quartets. The opening 'Allegro's' precise rhythms and modern harmonies set the mood for 'Genzmer's Quartet no. 2 far Saxophones'. The second movement, marked 'Amabile, tranqoillo', features a melody played by the soprano saxophone over a dense accompaniment from the other instruments. The third movement is an 'Intermezzo' in rondo form. Following the opening theme, there is a 30 measure solo for unaccompanied tenor saxophone, alter which the theme is taken up successively by the soprano, alto, and baritone. Alter several statements and developments, the movement concludes with a final statement of the theme by the baritone. The lively finale is propelled by energetic rhythms until eight measures before the end; after a short silence, the work comes to a close with a long crescendo.
Born William James Robjohn, Caryl Florio (1843-19.0020) was an American composer of English birth. Except for a few lessons as a child, he was self-taught in music. His family opposed his musical career, which led the young composer to change his name to Caryl Florlo in 1870. After spending the early years of his career in New York City, in 1896 he took charge of music at Biltmore, George Vanderbilt's estate near Asheville N.C., where he remained until 19.0001. He spent the next two years in New York, and then returned to Asheville to teach and conduct choruses and church choirs. The 'Quarfette far Saxophones' was written for the Wonder Saxophone Quartet, also known as the New York Saxophone Club, in 1879. It features crisp, flowing lines and lush harmonies that take complete advantage of the full, rich sonority characteristic of the saxophone quartet. The 'Quartette' is unique as an original work for the saxopho- ne quartet from the Romantic period. 'Twelve Variations in C' on the French song: 'Ah vous dirai-je Maman', was composed by the 22 year old Mozart (1756-1791) in Paris in 1778. This delightful set of variations may be a farewell to his beloved mother, who died just days before its composition. The New Century Saxophone Quartet originally intended this arrangement for its children's concerts, but has found it a favorite with concertgoers of all ages. While the French song's title may not be familiar, most listeners will instantly recognize this popular melody. French composer and pianist Jean Franaix (b. 19.0012) began composing at the age of six under the tutelage of his father, the director of the Le Mans Conservatory, and completed his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. His numerous works include concertos, chamber music, operas and ballets, including many works for wind instruments. The 'Petit quatuor pour saxophones' was written in 19.0035, and published in 19.0039. The first movement, a rollickingly fun exercise in over-emphasized dynamics, is marked with the nonsense title 'Gaguenardise'. in the second movement 'Cantilne' tacit for the soprano saxophone, the alto sings gracefully over a spare accompaniment from the tenor and the baritone. The jolly and humorous mood returns for the final movement, 'Srnade comique' which features alternating triple and duple meters.
The quartet concludes with a chromatic flurry followed by a simple two-measure cadence. Edward C. Barroll's 'The Piggfy- Wiggle' subtitled 'A Saxophone Episode', is a fine example of American novelty music from the first half on the 20th century. It is a favourite encore of the New Century Saxophone Quartet