The Saxophone Quartet
The saxophone quartet is a formation of chamber music composed for a soprano saxophone, an alto, a tenor and a baritone. It also means by this name musical forms dedicated to this type of training, often in classical music built on the model of the string quartet. Because of the versatility of the musicians who composed, there are many variants of this training. The words "American" for two violas, a tenor and a baritone is the most common, but there are quartets of saxophones soprano, alto or tenor saxophone, including instruments and even rarer as sopranino saxophone or tubax.
Among the many existing sets of saxophone, the quartet is that the directory has the richest in quantity (more than a thousand works identified in 1994 by Jean-Marie Londeix in his book 150 Years of Music for Saxophone) and quality, and number of existing training is awesome. Without attempting to parallel with the wonderful string quartet repertoire, one can even consider it for this type of training that the most interesting composers have found inspiration in the fairest and most profound, and there are now number of pieces written for leading saxophone quartet, while the repertoire of sonatas for the instrument is unfortunately very limited qualitatively so far.
The birth of the formation
Shortly after the invention of the saxophone family (patent 1846), a friend and fellow of Adolphe Sax , Jean-Baptiste Singelée insisted to the inventor to develop formulas that chamber music around her instruments. Being himself a violinist, he offered this formula certainly Sax since he wrote his "First Saxophone Quartet" (well named) in 1858. The inventor was teaching four saxophones in his class from the Paris Conservatoire. And every student was specialized, contributing to the soprano saxophone, baritone who ... Contrary to what might suggest the subsequent hegemony of the viola in teaching classical (and tenor among the musicians of jazz ).
Adolphe Sax was then improvised music publisher and concert promoter. So he published a number of works for various groups of saxophones, but mostly for string quartet, in parallel to works written for the contest of the conservatory. Alas, few illustrious names in this production, but mostly military colleagues in the College attached to the academy, often themselves of talented instrumentalists. Besides Singelée, who also wrote "Grand quartet concerto" found in its catalog names of horn player Jean-Baptiste Victor Mohr, clarinetist, saxophonist and band leader Jerome Savari, pianist and music theory Emile Jonas, heads of music Jules Adolphe Cressonois and Valentine Sellenick. Sax's competitors also tried to occupy a market seemingly bearer publishing saxophonist Louis Mayeur and others.
However, after the closure of the class of Adolphe Sax in the Conservatory, and probably lack of properly trained musicians, the quartet repertoire (among others) until it disappears almost wilts. Among the few works that have emerged at the turn of the twentieth century include those of Raymond Moulaert Belgian or English Caryl Florio.
Le Quatuor Marcel Mule
We are indebted to Marcel Mule renewed interest during the 1930s. The soloist of the Republican Guard and unanimously recognized musician in classical music circles, and three of his colleagues panel initially form the Saxophone Quartet of the Republican Guard in 1928, later in 1936, the Saxophone Quartet of Paris, then Marcel Mule Quartet. Georges Chauvet, Hippolyte Poimbœuf, Rene Chaligne Paul Romby, Fernand Lhomme, G. Charron, Andre Bauchy Marcel Josse, Georges Gourdet and Guy Lacour (and even Daniel Deffayet on some records) will be part of the successive formations. The whole gives many concerts in Europe, while recording a series of disks that are part of the history of the instrument. Many composers write for them, including: Jean Absil, Adolphe Borchard, Amedee Borsari, Eugene Bozza, Charles Brown, Roger Calmel Robert Clérisse Alfred Desenclos Dupérier Jean, Julien Falk, Jean Francaix, Alexander Glazunov, Stan Golestan, Andre Jorrand, Eleuthere LOVREGLIO Roger Manas, Marcelle Manziarly, Georges Migot, Claude Pascal, Gabriel Pierne, Paul Pierne, Robert Planel, Jean Rivier, Jeanine Rueff, Florent Schmitt, Jules Semler-Collery, Peter Vellone.
These include among his immediate followers of Mule, who formed his retinue to similar formations: Daniel Deffayet Quartet, Ensemble Saxophone French Jean-Marie Londeix, quartets Nouali Michel (Republican Guard), Jacques Desloges , Jean le Dieu, Alain Liger (4 of Paris) ...
The Rascher Quartet
For its part, the alter ego of Mule, Sigurd Rascher also formed in 1969 with his daughter Karina and Bruce Weinberger quartet who also knew a great success in North America. Among the composers used: Erland von Koch, Gerhard Fritz, Werner Wolf Glaser, John David Lamb, Zdenek Lukas, Walter S. Hartley, Emil Hlobil, Rene Borel, Robert Starer, Samuel Adler. The quartet continues today and contributes seriously to the expansion of the repertoire since it was commissioned major pieces by composers such as Iannis Xenakis, Franco Donatoni Dufourt Hughes, Ivan Fedele, Luciano Berio, Philip Glass, Sofia Gubaidulina, Cristobal Halffter, Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, Enrique Raxach Erich Urbanner, Charles Wuorinen ...
The most classical saxophonists today, inspired by the success of the quartet Mule and the interest of some scores when available, were themselves formed a quartet which includes the original parts and develops its own directory. Some parts are of great interest, and there is an increase of quality repertoire, parallel to the quantitative explosion. It is indeed often the formula for saxophone quartet as the most important composers of our time dedicating their work more relevant. Among the most notable include: Iannis Xenakis, Franco Donatoni, Ivan Fedele, Henri Pusher, John Cage, Salvatore Sciarrino, George Aperghis Erkki-Sven Tüür, Terry Riley, Hugh Dufourt Ichiro Nodaïra, Olga Neuwirth, ... portray a multifaceted instrument capable of feeding all the influences, first serve with all styles of music.