Program Book 1986 page 07
Program Notes for September 7, continued

ROBERT CLERISSE was born in Luchon, France, in 1899 and died in Monaco in 1973. He composed no fewer than 20 works for saxophone including 8 saxophone quartets. Heard today are two of Clerisse's miniatures.

ISAAC MANUEL FRANCISCO ALBENIZ (1865-1936) was the founder of the modern Spanish school of national music, although paradoxically he spent most of his life travelling all over the world, finally settling in Paris in 1893. But his music, genial and gay, is inspired mainly by Spanish folk-music, and is full of the characteristics of his country. A good example of his work is "Seville", a piece painting a picture of the light and shade of the Spanish scene.

GABRIEL PIERNE (1863-1937) studied at the Paris Conservatory from 1871 to 1882 with Marmoutel (piano), Cesar Franck (organ), and Massenet (composition). His career as a conductor began in 1903, and he enjoyed a high reputation both as composer and conductor. Pierne was perhaps one of the most "complete" of French composers and it was entirely characteristic of him to pass easily from the light to the thoughtful, from outward sparkle to inner penetration, and evoke many shades of emotion and feeling. The Introduction and Variations is an excellent example. It was in 1934 that Pierne dedicated this work to the Marcel Mule Quartet. The introduction is of a slow and sedate character which is twice furtively interrupted by the theme of the rondo. This is succeeded by several series of decorative variations, amplifications (a fugue for example) and ornaments, all separated by two "divertissements" based on a motif borrowed from the introduction. Certainly, the character of the popular rondo theme imparts a certain joviality; a brightness, in truth an earthiness - the writing of which is so light, so polished and the language so chaste that the humor emanating from it maintains from start to finish a smiling discretion which never infringes on the limits of good taste.

JEAN ABSIL (1893-1974) is one of the most eminent of contemporary Belgian composers, Director of I'Academie de Musique d'Etterbeck from 1922, and, from 1932, Professeur de Fugue at the Conservatoire Royal de Brussels. A winner of the second Prix de Rome in 1922, the Prix Rubens in 1934 and the Prix Ysaye in 1938, he composed two symphonies, a symphonic poem, a violin concerto and a piano concerto, three string quartets and numerous smaller works including this saxophone quartet. He was one of the founders of the Revue Internationale de Musique. The "Quatuor de Saxophones", Opus 31, was dedicated to the Quatuor de Saxophones de Paris. It is written in the "cyclic form" of Cesar Franck, which recalls or transforms the initial themes of a musical work throughout the entire composition, and while in an entirely modern mood, retains the very individual personality of the composer. The first movement, "Andante et allegro vivo", states the theme in the introduction, and then proceeds in a precise classical style, rhythmical but calculated, contrasting with the second movement, "Nocturne", which is in barcarolle style, a gentle and sedate rhythm which lends to a most tender and poetical melody. The final movement is brilliant and full of all the invention and a fantasy of the composer, leading us back to the original theme.

These notes (although edited) come primarily from Marcel Mule Saxophone Quartet record albums.

Amherst Saxophone Quartet Program Book Program Notes