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Categories » Saxophone » Saxophone Concerto

Product ID: SC3
Concerto for Alto Saxophone & Wind Orchestra PLUS LARGE A3 SCORE

Price: £169.95


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This package contains an EXTRA Large format A3 portrait score PLUS an A4 portrait score for Concerto for Alto Saxophone & Wind Orchestra. Please note that due to shipping restrictions, the A3 score is supplied UNBOUND, the score can simply be comb bound by the purchaser.

Concerto for Alto Saxophone & Wind Orchestra in 3 movements lasting about 24 minutes.


  • Solo Alto Saxophone
  • 2 Flutes (2nd + piccolo)
  • 2 Oboes (2nd doubling on English Horn)
  • Eb Clarinet
  • 3 Bb Clarinets
  • Bass Clarinet
  • 2 Bassoons
  • 2 Alto Saxophones
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • 4 French Horns
  • 4 Bb Trumpets
  • 2 Tenor Trombones
  • Bass Trombone
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Bass Guitar
  • Timpani
  • 3 Percussion

108 Page score 

Programme Notes

I was approached by Miles Osland to write the concerto in March 2004 Having collaborated with Miles on several previous projects, I have got to know well not only his playing but what might be a good vehicle for a player with ample technique who can straddle the interpretive divide between classical and jazz techniques with ease.

Having had the benefit of writing a concerto for flute and wind orchestra a year ago, I now feel more at home with the medium of the Symphonic Wind Band, an ensemble which is still relatively new to me. I have to admit at first to feeling like a kid in a sweet shop with all those sounds available, and couldn't help initially thinking of the ensemble as a big band buried within piles of extra goodies. Which of course it isn't, but that may give you some inkling as to the direction this piece has taken...

Movement 1
Starting with the percussion section heralding a somewhat relentless 7/8 7/8 7/8 4/4 metre logo, fragments of flutes, clarinets and muted trumpets work in sections to feed the harmonic changes through to the bass which repeats a lop-sided ostinato figure, joined occasionally by lower members of the orchestra. The saxophone creeps in almost unnoticed and gradually builds in intensity the snaking, slightly unfocussed melody in quasi-improvisatory fashion. The orchestra starts to focus underneath as the alto slithers up to an altissimo high D where the whole band erupt into a "Tutti" ensemble section with elements of brass, woodwind and saxes bouncing rhythmically off each other. Full tutti "stop chords" then launch the rejuvenated alto into a calmer section, heralded by the oboe, reclaimed by the alto which then builds up into a virtuoso solo accompanied by a funky bassline with spiky stabs. The whole saxophone section eventually catch up with the solo alto, and for a while they speak with one voice before sliding back, through a brief latin tinge to the original percussive metre. The opening is then played out in reverse, right down to the soloist's final gasp of air.

Movement 2
Four angular phrases stated by the soloist are commented on in random fashion by muted trumpets, joined by woodwind. Again the same four phrases appear, this time harmonised by the whole saxophone section, answered randomly by wind and percussion. A big theme is introduced by full brass - big band style - which the alto then rides until a brief wind quintet interlude heralds a "Tutti" section where the melody is passed between various solo instruments and with different harmonic treatments. The soloist re-appears floating over a pedal section with the suspended harmonies straining eventually to resolve on a "walking jazz four" section developed by the orchestra. When the soloist makes his final statement, it is not without a whiff of far - off Hollywood.

Movement 3
A cacophony of spikato winds gradually centres on a monotone which cues the alto to start building a Tehai. This he does fragmentarily and through a stretto process hits the start button for real with the addition of horns and tubular bell which pick out the three short phrases (transposed up a major 3rd each time) of the Tehai proper. Preceded by a rhythmically irregular cascade of notes, a simple rhythmic ostinato in the clarinets and baritone sax underscores various statements of the theme first by the soloist and then by full orchestra. The "second subject", a more relaxed though angular melody stated by the alto, mirrored a beat later by the horns, lasts briefly before an upbeat samba tinged section with snaking unisons appears. The original theme then launches the soloist into a rhythmically fed solo, joined at one point by the whole sax section which dissolves into a counterpoint with the lower elements of the orchestra. Suddenly a cadenza is thrust upon the soloist with all the demands of false fingered harmonics, altissimo shrieks and leaps, trills and thrills, all of which the alto sax embraces with such consummate ease and good humour! The original two themes appear in quick succession after the cadenza, along with an extended reworking of the samba feel, incorporating a jazz turn-around which propels the alto via some polyphonic stacks to finish on an as yet undecided polyphonic note...

Thanks to all the members of the consortium for making it possible for me to write this concerto, but most of all to Miles Osland, without whom this would be one of many pieces from all over the world which could never have come into existence.

Mike Mower

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